• Veterinary students train to help in agro-terrorism situations

    Because of the number of feedlots in Kansas, the state could be a prime target for agro-terrorism; Kansas State University veterinary medicine students take part in two different U.S. Department of Agriculture preparedness programs: the foreign animal disease practitioner’s training course and agriculture emergency response training; the programs train veterinarians to aid in relief efforts and protect the public in hazardous situations

  • New smallpox vaccine delivered to U.S. national stockpile

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the last case of smallpox in the United States was in 1949, and the last naturally occurring case in the world was in Somalia in 1977; the virus still exists in laboratory stockpiles, however, and after the terrorist attacks on 9/11, “there is heightened concern that the variola virus might be used as an agent of bioterrorism,” the CDC says

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  • Maple syrup producer ends factory floor tours

    For almost a century Maple Grove Farms of St. Johnsbury, Vermont, has produced maple syrup and maple candies; for much of that time, tourists have been able to watch the production process from the factory floor — but not anymore: fears about terrorists, disguised as visitors, contaminating some of the more than twelve million pounds of maple products processed every year lead company to end tours

  • Garage-lab bugs: spread of bioscience increases bioterrorism risks

    There is a new fear about the possible source of a bioterror attack: scientific advances now enable amateur scientists to carry out once-exotic experiments, such as DNA cloning, which could be put to criminal use; as recently as a decade ago, the tools and techniques for such fiddling were confined to a handful of laboratories like those at leading research universities; today, do-it-yourself biology clubs have sprung up where part-timers share tips on how to build high-speed centrifuges, isolate genetic material, and the like

  • Texas A&M bioterrorism research may yield rabies cure

    Rabies infection is an unusual event in the United States, but it is a problem that kills more than 50,000 people around the world every year; the U.S. Department of Defense is funding research at Texas A&M on counter-measures to bioterrorism — but one of the most immediate outcomes of A&M’s research could be a cure for rabies

  • NDM-1 may herald the end of antibiotic era

    Researchers warn that the spread of a drug-resistant bacterial gene could herald the end of antibiotics; the bleak prediction follows his research into a drug-resistant bacterial gene called NDM-1, or New Delhi metallo-β-lactamase 1, which was first identified in India; researchers identified 143 cases of NDM-1 across India and Pakistan, but 37 — a surprisingly high figure — in the United Kingdom

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  • U Rochester lands $15 million to study medical response to nuclear terrorism

    Research has revealed that it is not just the immediate effect of radiation that makes adults and children sick; rather, the radiation damage can remain relatively undetected in key tissues and organs, but will trigger life-threatening illnesses after an injury that occurs later; new project places the University of Rochester Medical Center firmly in a leadership position in the counterterrorism effort

  • Superbug found in British patients returning from treatment in Asia

    An antibiotic-resistant superbug has been found in British patients traveling to Asia for cosmetic surgery, cancer treatment, and transplants and returning to Britain for further care; the bug was found attached to E.coli bacteria, but the enzyme can easily jump from one bacterium to another and experts fear it will start attaching itself to more dangerous diseases causing them to become resistant to antibiotics; in Many Asian countries health standards in many Asian countries are poor and regulations are weak, and antibiotics are available to buy without prescription; this is thought to have encouraged resistance to develop as many infections are exposed to the drugs without being properly killed

  • How serious is the threat of an "EMP Pearl Harbor"?

    In 1962 the United States conducted a high-altitude nuclear test above Johnston Island, 825 miles southwest of Hawaii; detonated 400 kilometers above the island, the resulting nuclear blast knocked out street lights across Hawaii and tripped circuit breakers, triggered burglar alarms, and damaged a telecommunications relay facility on the island of Kauai; could terrorist, or a nuclear-armed rogue state, launch an EMP Pearl harbor against the United States?

  • New college program on food security

    The United States has avoided a major terrorist attack to its food chain, but a small vial of a lethal chemical, such as the nerve toxin ricin, could be introduced anywhere along the chain, injuring thousands directly and, like 9/11, affecting whole industries; Polk State College’s newest program, the Agriculture Business/Technology Institute, will address critical industry issues, including the need for greater security in the food chain

  • FDA's food-safety monitoring in need of overhaul

    A new study of the U.S. food safety regime finds gaping holes in the system; the study finds that shifting to a risk-based food safety system, utilizing a research infrastructure and integrated federal, state, and local government food safety program, can go a long way towards achieving the safer food supply we all desire

  • Cholera spreads in flood-ravaged Pakistan

    With stagnant water throughout Pakistan, water-borne diseases such as gastroenteritis, malaria, and typhoid, now threaten the nation; there are reports of diarrhoea and cholera among the hundreds of thousands left homeless, and food and drinking water are in short supply

  • Plum Island bio lab an inviting target for terrorists

    The bio lab on 840-acre Plum Island, a mile-and-a-half off Long Island’s Orient Point, is a Biosafety level 4 facility — the only type of research lab authorized to handle diseases that are communicable between humans and animals and for which there is no known cure; from a boat, terrorists armed with shoulder-fired rockets would have a clear shot, or a plane could dive into the laboratory, dispersing deadly germs into an area from Massachusetts to New York; DHS has decided to build a new lab in Kansas to replace the aging Plum Island center, but some local politicians object, citing the local jobs that would be lost

  • 3,000 chemical-filled barrels washed into major northeast China river

    Severe floods in China’s Jilin Province carried about 3,000 barrels containing toxic chemicals into the Songhuajiang River in Jilin City; in addition, 4,000 empty barrels containing chemical residues were also washed into the river — a major source of drinking water and fishing; each chemical-filled barrel contains about 170 kilograms of chemicals

  • Radiation concerns dog full-body scanners

    By the end of 2014, TSA will install between 1,950 and 2,200 full-body scanners at checkpoints in all 450 commercial airports in the United States; TSA buys scanners which use two technologies — backscatter X-ray and millimeter wave; since backscatter technology raises persistent worries about radiation, some want to know why TSA should not buy only millimeter-wave scanners