• Major drop in antibiotics for food animals in U.S.

    New data released the other day by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) shows the amount of medically important antibiotics sold for use in food-producing animals in the United States is on the decline. The FDA report shows that domestic sales and distribution of medically important antibiotics for use in livestock decreased by 33 percent from 2016 through 2017, and by 43 percent since sales peaked in 2015.

  • Widespread, occasional use of antibiotics linked to resistance

    The increasing prevalence of antibiotic resistance in the U.S. appears more closely linked to their occasional use by many people than to their repeated use among smaller numbers of people. A new study also found that antibiotic use varies across the nation, and that in areas where particular antibiotics are used more frequently, resistance to those antibiotics is higher.

  • Developing concepts for escape respirator

    DHS S&T announced the Escape Respirator Challenge, a $250,000 prize competition that seeks new concepts for an escape respirator solution. This challenge invites the innovation community to submit relevant, useable, effective, and feasible concepts that protects the user against aerosolized chemical, biological, and radiological (CBR) hazards and provides oxygen.

  • Medical problems of U.S. Havana embassy personnel explained

    A medical team has released the first report of acute symptoms and clinical findings in 25 personnel living in the U.S. Embassy in Havana. The researchers did not attempt to determine the cause of the symptoms in the U.S. Embassy residents, the authors noted that intense ultrasonic radiation can produce “a syndrome involving manifestations of nausea, headache, tinnitus, pain, dizziness, and fatigue,” based on occupational health literature.

  • Evidence supporting regulation of greenhouse gases stronger than ever: Scientists

    Sixteen prominent climate scientists argue that there is more reason than ever for the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate greenhouse gases, at the same time some politicians are pushing the EPA to reverse its 2009 decision to do so.

  • VitalTag to give vital information in mass casualty incidents

    When mass casualty incidents occur — shootings, earthquakes, multiple car pile ups — first responders can easily be overwhelmed by the sheer number of victims. When every second counts, monitoring all the victims in a chaotic situation can be difficult. Researchers developed a stick-on sensor that measures and tracks a patient’s vital signs to help first responders quickly triage, treat and transport the injured.

  • Midwest at risk: Big-picture look at climate change impact on U.S. agriculture

    A new study shows that Midwest agriculture is increasingly vulnerable to climate change because of the region’s reliance on growing rain-fed crops. The researchers set out to assess the impact extreme weather is having on agricultural productivity in the United States. While previous studies have looked at the vulnerability of individual field crops, which make up one-third of the country’s agricultural output, researchers haven’t addressed the whole scope of agricultural production, including livestock, at the national level.

  • Ebola count in DRC hits 500 in growing outbreak

    The world’s second-largest Ebola outbreak hit another milestone today, as the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) recorded 2 new cases, raising outbreak totals to 500, including 289 deaths. According to the latest weekly update from the World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) African regional office, among the 500 cases are 3 healthcare workers who have been infected since 1 December. Since August, when the outbreak began, 49 healthcare workers have been infected, and 15 of those have died.

  • New vaccines center to protect U.K. from pandemic threats

    The U.K.’s first dedicated Vaccines Manufacturing Innovation Centre (VMIC represents a major commercial opportunity and also a new front line in the nation’s defense against global pandemic threats. To be up and running by 2022, the VMIC addresses the U.K.’s structural gap in late-stage vaccine manufacturing process development. It will allow development and manufacture of vaccines for clinical trials and at moderate scale for emergency preparedness for epidemic threats to the U.K. population.

  • Ebola cases spike as WHO warns of possible reintroduction

    The other day the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) recorded 13 new Ebola cases in its daily update. Six of the new cases are in Butembo, three in Oicha, and two each in Beni and Katwa. The outbreak totals now stand at 471 cases, of which 423 are confirmed and 48 are probable; 273 people have died. And the World Health Organization (WHO) said yesterday that it is concerned about reintroduction of the virus into the outbreak region.

  • DRC Ebola total climbs to 444 with cases in several areas

    Over the weekend and through today, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) reported 16 new Ebola cases in several locations in and around the main hot spots. The latest developments lift the overall outbreak total to 444 cases, including 396 confirmed and 48 probable cases. The fatality count has reached 260 deaths.

  • National security in the Fourth National Climate Assessment

    NCA4 vol. 2: “Climate change presents added risks to interconnected systems that are already exposed to a range of stressors such as aging and deteriorating infrastructure, land-use changes, and population growth. Extreme weather and climate-related impacts on one system can result in increased risks or failures in other critical systems, including water resources, food production and distribution, energy and transportation, public health, international trade, and national security. The full extent of climate change risks to interconnected systems, many of which span regional and national boundaries, is often greater than the sum of risks to individual sectors.”

  • U.S. gov.’s climate assessment: U.S. already suffering severe consequences of climate change

    The Fourth National Climate Assessment (NCA4)—a quadrennial report mandated by Congress since 1990—was released Friday. Thirteen federal agencies develop the NCA using the best available science to help the nation “understand, assess, predict and respond to” climate change. The 1,500-page report examines the climate and economic impacts U.S. residents could expect if drastic action is not taken to address climate change. The consequences of global warming for the U.S. economy, infrastructure, food production, water, and public health are already severe, as flooding, droughts, wildfires, rain storms, and hurricanes intensify. Unless warming is arrested, to consequences are only going to get worse.

  • Quick, precise method for detecting chemical warfare agents

    Sarin is a man-made nerve agent that can spread as a gas or liquid. According to the Center for Disease control, exposure to large doses will over-stimulate glands and muscles, and can lead to loss of consciousness or respiratory failure. Even small doses can cause a long list of distressing and dangerous symptoms. “Low-level nerve agent exposure leads to ambiguous signs and symptoms that cannot be easily discriminated from other conditions, which may result in a delay in treatment and permanent damage,” says an expert. “If trace amounts can be detected quickly, you can prevent permanent damage to human health.”

  • Wildfire smoke is becoming a nationwide health threat

    The impacts of recent forest fires in California reach well beyond the burned areas. Smoke from the Camp Fire created hazardous air quality conditions in San Francisco, more than 170 miles to the southwest – but it didn’t stop there. Cross-country winds carried it across the United States, creating hazy conditions in locations as far east as Philadelphia. As an air pollution exposure scientist, I worry about the extreme levels of air pollution that rise from these fires and affect many people across great distances.