• U.S. not ready for clean up effort after a bioterror attack

    The small 2001 anthrax attack in the United States cost hundreds of millions of dollars in decontamination costs, and some of the facilities attacked could not be reopened for more than two years; a large-scale biological release in an American city, though, could potentially result in hundreds of thousands of illnesses and deaths and could cost trillions of dollars to clean up

  • HHS IG: U.S. needs more FDA food inspections

    Federal food inspectors are conducting fewer reviews of food manufacturing plants, with many facilities going more than five years without being checked; the reason: budget cuts since 2001 have shrunk the workforce at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA); an estimated 76 million people in the United States get sick every year with food-borne illness and 5,000 die

  • Tularemia bacteria detected in Columbus, Ohio; no bioterror attack suspected

    BioWatch sensors in Columbus, Ohio, last week picked up higher than normal presence of the bacteria tularemia — a bacteria which may be used in bioterror attacks; Columbus Public Health officials continued to emphasize that people are not at risk and there is no suspicion that bioterrorism was attempted here

  • New way to control disease-spreading mosquitoes: Prevent them from urinating

    Aedes aegypti mosquitoes transmit the virus that causes dengue fever, putting 40 percent of the world’s population at risk of catching the disease, and causing 50 million to 100 million infections and 22,000 deaths annually; researchers find a way to control the mosquitoes: Prevent them from urinating as they feed on blood

  • Useful tree provides low-cost water purification method for developing world

    A billion people across Asia, Africa, and Latin America are estimated to rely on untreated surface water sources for their daily water needs; of these, some two million are thought to die from diseases caught from contaminated water every year, with the majority of these deaths occurring among children under five years of age; seeds from the Moringa oleifera tree, can produce a 90.00 percent to 99.99 percent bacterial reduction in previously untreated water

  • Expert: U.S. stance on bioweapons important, does not require inspectors

    The Obama administration has been criticized for, on the one hand, expressing more support than its predecessor for the goals of the Biological Weapons Convention but, on the other hand, for continuing the Bush administration’s objection to a tight inspection regime; an expert says inspections are appropriate for nuclear weapons, but largely irrelevant to biological weapons

  • Sathguru’s center launches first global food safety management program

    Indian research center to hold a program of lectures and seminars for executives dealing with different aspects of food safety; directors of the program say that emerging trends in food production, processing, and distribution require augmented food safety protocols and strategies to ensure safe food supply, especially in emerging economies and world.

  • FDA bars Virginia seafood dealer from importing food for 20 years

    In the FDA’s first debarment of food importer, the agency imposed a 20-year penalty on a Virginia businessman who participated in a conspiracy to sell frozen catfish fillets falsely labeled as sole, grouper, flounder, snakehead, channa, and other species of fish to avoid paying federal import tariff

  • Nicholls to get money for seafood research institute

    Nicholls State University in Louisiana will receive funds to launch the Institute for Seafood Studies, which would aid studies of seafood species, coastal restoration and protection, as well as development of local fisheries and industries connected to them; one of the problems the research institute will address is food safety, which one expert said is a top fear among consumers; “This will enable the seafood community, working with the seafood institute, to help allay those concerns,” the expert said

  • HIV-as-terrorism case draws national attention

    Two Michigan neighbors got into a fight, and one of them bit the other; when prosecutors learned from a TV report that the man who bit his neighbor was HIV positive, they added the charge of bioterrorism to the charges of assault and assault with intent to maim; prosecutors say the new charge is based on a 2004 Michigan law, passed in the wake of 9/11, which speaks of “possession or use of a harmful device,” and they point to a Michigan Court of Appeal’s ruling that HIV-infected blood was a “harmful biological substance” under Michigan law.

  • Obama administration to review U.S. response to health threats

    Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said that she ordered the evaluation of the U.S. responses to health threats in part because the H1N1 vaccine shortage had highlighted the nation’s dependence on antiquated technology

  • Experts call for changes in U.S. vaccine creation process

    The current U.S. vaccine-manufacturing plan was developed prior to the cold war, and has never been updated; currently, the United States grows its vaccines in eggs over the course of six to eight months, and as there has been no real financial incentive to upgrade the vaccine making process, pharmaceutical manufacturers have instead focused on more profitable medications rather than vaccines

  • New book argues for change in biodefense policy

    The 2001 anthrax-letter mailings following presented Americans with an unsettling possibility: What if the resources spent to safeguard American citizens against terrorism have only made them more vulnerable?

  • Anticipating new diseases, bioterror methods

    The 150 researchers at the University of Florida’s Emerging Pathogens Institute work to anticipate and respond to new diseases and old ones — such as tuberculosis and cholera — that can turn into new threats or make a comeback