Fire Earth

Earth is fighting to stay alive. Mass dieoffs, triggered by anthropogenic assault and fallout of planetary defense systems offsetting the impact, could begin anytime!

Archive for December 28th, 2009

Sudden worldwide increase in antibiotic-resistant bacterium

Posted by feww on December 28, 2009

Drug-resistant urinary tract infections spreading worldwide

Faculty of 1000: Biology and Medicine

A sudden worldwide increase in an antibiotic-resistant bacterium is cause for concern, according to a review in f1000 Medicine Reports.

Faculty of 1000 member Dr Johann Pitout, of the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of Calgary, urges the medical community to monitor the spread of a multi-drug resistant bacterium before it becomes necessary to use more powerful antibiotics as a first response.

Extended-spectrum β-lactamases (ESBLs) are bacterially-produced enzymes that confer resistance to penicillin-type antibiotics. ESBLs have been commonly linked to nosocomial infections, which are generally treated with intravenously-administered antibiotics such as the carbapenems.

However, in recent years there has been a drastic increase in community-acquired infections, caused by a single strain of ESBL-producing E. coli. Dr Pitout suggests that the rapid spread of this particular strain is due, at least in part, to international travel through high-risk areas such as the Indian subcontinent.

Using carbapenems as the first response to such infections increases the risk of inducing resistance to them in the community, nullifying some of our most powerful anti-bacterial strategies. Dr Pitout recommends that the medical community should use existing methods to identify infections caused by ESBL-producing bacteria, and empirically test the efficacy of other antibiotics in treating community-acquired infections.

Dr Pitout concludes, “If this emerging public health threat is ignored … the medical community may be forced to use the carbapenems as the first choice for the empirical treatment of serious [community-acquired UTIs].”

###
Contact: Steve Pogonowski
press@f1000.com
http://blog.f1000.com
http://youtube.com/Facultyof1000

Related Links:

Advertisements

Posted in carbapenems, ESBLs, Laboratory Medicine, nosocomial infections, Pathology | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Noise from Oil Exploration, Tourist Boats Kills 150 Whales

Posted by feww on December 28, 2009

Our thanks to TEAA for the links

Noise Pollution from NZ Oil Exploration, Tourist Boats and Toxic Pollution Strand 150 Whales to Their Deaths

Up to 150 whales died in less than 48 hours after two beachings, New Zealand’s  Department of Conservation reported.


Dead whales in Colville Bay on the Coromandel Peninsula, New Zealand. Photo credit: Sally and Doug Morrison/ The Southland Times. Image may be subject to copyright. See Fair Use Notice.

About 30 pilot whales died after they became stranded on Coromandel peninsula yesterday and will be buried by the local Maori.

Meanwhile, up to 120 long-finned pilot whales, both calves and adults, were found dead  at the Farewell Spit on Boxing Day.

“More offshore wells have been drilled in the last two years than the rest of the decade combined: 35 on and offshore wells were drilled between January 2008 and July 2009 alone,” said a report.


Dead whales lie on the beach at Farewell Spit on New Zealand’s South Island December 28, 2009. More than 100 pilot whales died after being stranded at Farewell Spit, according to local media. The beached whales were discovered by a tourist plane on Saturday. Photo: New Zealand Department of Conservation/Handout via Reuters.

Each year about 2.5 million tourists visit New Zealand, straining its fragile ecosystems to the breaking point, creating a massive litany of different pollutions, including noise.

Mendo Coast Current wrote: “Studies show that these cetaceans, which once communicated over thousands of miles to forage and mate, are losing touch with each other, the experts said at a U.N. wildlife conference in Rome.”

“The sound of a seismic test, used to locate hydrocarbons beneath the seabed, can spread 1,800 miles under water, said Veronica Frank, an official with the International Fund for Animal Welfare. A study by her group found that the blue whale, which used to communicate across entire oceans, has lost 90 percent of its range over the past 40 years.”

Environmental experts are studying numerous cases of beached whales and dolphins that are believed to have been caused by sound pollution, according to Simmonds.

Just two weeks ago at least five whales died after nine were beached in Mediterranean off the  southern coast off Italy, an unusual place for whales to beach themselves.

‘A massive beaching is extremely rare in the Mediterranean,’ biologist Maurizio Wurtz at the University of Genoa said.

Noise pollution from seismic surveys for oil and gas as well as naval activities are believed to have confused whales by interfering  with their communication, thus leaving them stranded and ultimately dead,  many  Conservationists and biologists say.

The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) says man-made ocean noise inhibits cetaceans’ communication and disrupts their feeding.

The level of ocean noise in some regions is doubling each decade, according to IFAW.  “Humanity is literally drowning out marine mammals.”

[NOTE: We are also reminded that Coromandel peninsula is the same area where NZ Public Medical Office of Health reported “particularly high” levels of paralytic shellfish poison. See: Toxic shellfish from New Zealand can cause paralysis and respiratory failure within 12 hours of being consumed.  http://newzeelend.wordpress.com/2009/01/07/global-food-safety-alert-toxic-nz-shellfish-warning/ ]

Related Links:

Posted in eco-terrorism, Endangered Species, ocean, Ocean Acidity, Seismic Surveys | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Mayon Volcano Update [28 December 2009]

Posted by feww on December 28, 2009

Mayon activity remains intense


Clouds partially cover Mayon volcano, as it ejects tephra in Legazpi City, Albay province December 28, 2009. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo). Image may be subject to copyright.

Highlights of news, observations, official and unofficial reports:

  • Mayon activity remains intense
  • The lava flowed about 5.7 km from the summit crater, nearing  coconut plantations in the area
  • 7 tephra explosions
  • Tephra ejected to a height of about 2km above the summit
  • 44 volcanic earthquakes
  • 137 rock fall events
  • Fresh lava continues to flow down the Bonga-Buyuan, Miisi and Lidong gullies.
  • Sulfur dioxide emission rate reached 4,329 ton per day almost double the amount previous day.
  • Volcanic Hazard warning remains at level 4, which means an explosive eruption could occur anytime.
  • About 50,000 people are staying at 30 evacuation centers.
  • The authorities said they were setting  up an epidemiology surveillance unit at the provincial health headquarters.
  • Local government said it discouraged “disaster tourism” in the light of tourists from the US, Europe and Asia flocking to the Albay province where Mt Mayon is located.
  • A group of tourists who tried to venture into the 8-kilometer danger zone were ejected by the military at one of the nine checkpoints set up within the area.

The following Bulletin was released by The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) today:

Mayon Volcano Bulletin 15 released on 28 December 2009

For the past 24 hours, Mayon Volcano’s (13.2576 N, 123.6856 E) intense level of unrest persisted. Seven ash explosions were observed during times of good visibility. The explosions produced dirty white to light gray ash columns that rose to a maximum height of about 2000 meters above the summit before drifting towards the southwest.

A total of 44 volcanic earthquakes and 137 rock fall events related to the detachment of lava fragments at the volcano’s upper slopes was detected by the seismic network. Red hot lava continuously flowed down along the Bonga-Buyuan, Miisi and Lidong gullies. Intermittent rolling of incandescent lava fragments were also observed. Yesterday’s measurement of

Alert Level 4 remains hoisted over Mayon Volcano.  PHIVOLCS-DOST reiterates that the Extended Danger Zone (EDZ) from the summit of 8-km on the southern sector of the volcano and 7-km on the northern sector should be free from human activity.  Areas just outside of this EDZ should prepare for evacuation in the event hazardous eruptions intensify.  Active river channels and those perennially identified as lahar prone in the southern sector should also be avoided especially during bad weather conditions or when there is heavy and prolonged rainfall.  PHIVOLCS–DOST is closely monitoring Mayon Volcano’s activity and any new significant development will be immediately posted to all concerned.

For previous entries, additional information, photos and links to Mayon Volcano see links below:

Related Links:


Posted in Mayon activity, Mayon Volcano, Mt Mayon, Philippines volcanoes, SO2 emissions at mayon | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »