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Posts Tagged ‘bubonic plague’

Plague Epidemic Spreading at “Alarming Rate” in Madagascar

Posted by feww on October 23, 2017

70+ Percent of the reported cases are highly virulent pneumonic plague: Health officials

The deadly disease outbreak has hit Madagascar’s two biggest cities, Antananarivo and Toamasina, and it’s spreading at an “alarming rate,” health officials said

“Normally, people who catch the plague live in poor areas, but people in every place in society are catching the disease,” Madagascar’s director of health promotion said.

More than 1,150 cases have been confirmed since August, with a fatality rate of about 10%.

About 70 per cent of the reported cases are pneumonic plague, a more virulent form of the disease that spreads through the inhalation of respiratory droplets/small particles produced by an infected person.

“Plague can be a very severe disease in people, with a case-fatality ratio of 30% to 60% for the bubonic type, and is always fatal for the pneumonic kind when left untreated,” said WHO.

Outbreak of Marburg virus disease (MVD)

An outbreak of Marburg virus disease (MVD) that has appeared in eastern Uganda on the border with Kenya, according to WHO.

“At least one person is confirmed to have died of MVD and several hundred people may have been exposed to the virus at health facilities and at traditional burial ceremonies in Kween District, a mountainous area 300 kilometres northeast of Kampala.”

More…

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Outbreak of Pneumonic Plague Kills Dozens in Madagascar

Posted by feww on December 13, 2013

Ninety percent of the cases are pneumonic plague

“There is an epidemic in Madagascar which is currently affecting five districts [out of 112.] Eighty-six people have been inflicted by the plague, of which 39 have died,” the health ministry was reported as saying.

Pneumonic plague is a severe type of lung infection caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis, and is more virulent and rarer than bubonic plague.

Although the deadly disease claimed its first victim sometime in October, the authorities didn’t declare the plague outbreak until November 23, said reports.

In 2012, plague killed more than 60 people in Madagascar, the highest toll globally.

What’s Plague?

Plague is an infectious disease caused by bacteria called Yersinia pestis. The bacteria are found mainly in rodents, particularly rats, and in the fleas that feed on them. Other animals and humans usually contract the bacteria from rodent or flea bites, the US National Institute of Health (NIH) said. The bacteria can also spread from person to person through the air by coughing. When transmission occurs through the air, Y. pestis infects the lungs. [See below for the disease forms.]

Historically, plague destroyed entire civilizations. In the 1300s, the “Black Death,” as it was called, killed approximately one-third (20 to 30 million) of Europe’s population. In the mid-1800s, it killed 12 million people in China. Today, thanks to better living conditions, antibiotics, and improved sanitation, current World Health Organization statistics show there were only 2,118 cases in 2003 worldwide.

About 20 people in the United States are diagnosed with bubonic plague each year caused by flea or rodent bites—mostly from infected prairie dogs—in countryside in the southwestern United States, according to NIH.  “About 1 in 7 of those infected die from the disease. There has not been a case of person-to-person infection in the United States since 1924.”

There have also been small plague outbreaks in Asia, Africa, and South America.

What’s Pneumonic Plague?

Yersinia pestis
Image: Yersinia pestis. Fluorescence antibody positivity is seen as bright, intense green staining around the bacterial cell. [Source: CDC]

Facts about Pneumonic Plague [Information Sourced from CDC]

PHIL_2050_lores
Image: Wayson stain of Yersinia pestis. Wayson stain of Yersinia pestis. Note the characteristic “safety pin” appearance of the bacteria
. [Source: CDC]

Plague is an infectious disease that affects animals and humans. It is caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis. This bacterium is found in rodents and their fleas and occurs in many areas of the world, including the United States.

Y. pestis is easily destroyed by sunlight and drying. Even so, when released into air, the bacterium will survive for up to one hour, although this could vary depending on conditions.

PHIL_4091_lores
This patient presented with symptoms of plague that included gangrene of the right hand causing necrosis of the fingers. In this case, the presence of systemically disseminated plague bacteria Y. pestis, i.e. septicemia, predisposed this patient to abnormal coagulation within the blood vessels of his fingers.
Photo: CDC 1975. Caption: CDC/ CDC/Dr. Jack Poland

Pneumonic plague is one of several forms of plague. Depending on circumstances, these forms may occur separately or in combination:

  • Pneumonic plague occurs when Y. pestis infects the lungs. This type of plague can spread from person to person through the air. Transmission can take place if someone breathes in aerosolized bacteria, which could happen in a bioterrorist attack. Pneumonic plague is also spread by breathing in Y. pestis suspended in respiratory droplets from a person (or animal) with pneumonic plague. Becoming infected in this way usually requires direct and close contact with the ill person or animal. Pneumonic plague may also occur if a person with bubonic or septicemic plague is untreated and the bacteria spread to the lungs.
  • Bubonic plague is the most common form of plague. This occurs when an infected flea bites a person or when materials contaminated with Y. pestis enter through a break in a person’s skin. Patients develop swollen, tender lymph glands (called buboes) and fever, headache, chills, and weakness. Bubonic plague does not spread from person to person.
  • Septicemic plague occurs when plague bacteria multiply in the blood. It can be a complication of pneumonic or bubonic plague or it can occur by itself. When it occurs alone, it is caused in the same ways as bubonic plague; however, buboes do not develop. Patients have fever, chills, prostration, abdominal pain, shock, and bleeding into skin and other organs. Septicemic plague does not spread from person to person.

Symptoms and Treatment

PHIL_4139_loresThis patient presented with symptoms of plague that included gangrene of the right foot causing necrosis of the toes. In this case, the presence of systemically disseminated plague bacteria Y. pestis, i.e. septicemia, predisposed this patient to abnormal coagulation within the blood vessels of his toes. Photo CDC. Caption: CDC/William Archibald

With pneumonic plague, the first signs of illness are fever, headache, weakness, and rapidly developing pneumonia with shortness of breath, chest pain, cough, and sometimes bloody or watery sputum. The pneumonia progresses for 2 to 4 days and may cause respiratory failure and shock. Without early treatment, patients may die.

Early treatment of pneumonic plague is essential. To reduce the chance of death, antibiotics must be given within 24 hours of first symptoms. Streptomycin, gentamicin, the tetracyclines, and chloramphenicol are all effective against pneumonic plague.

Antibiotic treatment for 7 days will protect people who have had direct, close contact with infected patients. Wearing a close-fitting surgical mask also protects against infection.

A plague vaccine is not currently available for use in the United States.

Plague Information: Infection Control

6581_lores
During the 1975 Rhodesian, (now Zimbabwe), Marburg epidemiologic investigation, health officials came across this African farmer with an inguinal bubo. Photo: CDC 1975. Caption: CDC/ Dr. J. Lyle Conrad

The epidemiologists uncovered an outbreak of plague amongst the local farmers, and treated these patients with oral antibiotics. Sanitarians were quickly dispatched to spray huts for fleas, and then trap rats carrying the pathogenic agent, Yersinia pestis bacterium.

PHIL_4140_lores
This patient acquired a plague infection through abrasions on his upper right leg. Bubonic plague is transmitted through the bite of an infected flea, or as in this case, exposure to inoculated material through a break in the skin. Symptoms include swollen, tender lymph glands known as buboes. Photo: CDC 1975. Caption: CDC/ CDC/Dr. Jack Poland

6720_lores
This photograph depicts the shaved anterior thoracoabdominal region of a rock squirrel, Spermophilus variegatus, formerly known as Citellus variegatus, which is afflicted with the plague. This squirrel is displaying a petechial rash, which is similar in appearance to those found on humans also afflicted with Yersinia pestis. A petechial rash refers to small, pinpoint, flat lesions of the skin and mucous membranes that are associated with hemorrhages beneath the skin surface. Photo: CDC 1977. Caption: CDC/ William Archibald; Laboratory/ Ft. Collins

Related Links

Posted in Global Disaster watch, global disasters, global disasters 2013, health | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Plague-infected Squirrel Found in Los Angeles-area Campground

Posted by feww on July 26, 2013

Squirrel tests positive for plague in Angeles National Forest North of LA

A ground squirrel has tested positive for plague after it was trapped in the Angeles National Forest during “routine surveillance activities,” said the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

The LA County has released the following health advisory:

HEALTH ADVISORY: Closures Posted for Broken Blade, Twisted Arrow, and Pima Loops of the Table Mountain Campgrounds Due to Plague Found in a Ground Squirrel

Closure signs posted in the Angeles National Forest near Wrightwood

LOS ANGELES – Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and U.S. Forestry Service officials have closed the Broken Blade, Twisted Arrow, and Pima Loops of the Table Mountain Campgrounds in the Angeles National Forest after tests confirmed that one ground squirrel trapped on July 16, 2013 during routine surveillance activities tested positive on July 23, 2013 for plague. The sites were officially closed at 1:00 p.m. today, and will be closed for at least 7 days. Campers at the site have been notified of the closure by Forest Service officials. The campgrounds and recreational areas are located near Wrightwood. In coordination with the Los Angeles County Department of Agriculture/Weights and Measures, the squirrel burrows in the area will be dusted for fleas. Further testing of squirrels will be done before the area is re-opened to the public.

“Plague is a bacterial infection that can be transmitted to humans through the bites of infected fleas, which is why we close affected campgrounds and recreational areas as a precaution while preventive measures are taken to control the flea population,” said Jonathan E. Fielding, M.D., M.P.H., Director of Public Health and Health Officer. “It is important for the public to know that there have only been four cases of human plague in Los Angeles County residents since 1984, none of which were fatal.”

Plague has been known to reside in the ground squirrels population in the San Gabriel Mountains. Previous routine surveillance identified one plague-positive ground squirrel in 2010 from the Los Alamos campgrounds in Gorman; one in 2007 and two in 1996 from the Stoneyvale Picnic Area near La Cañada/Flintridge; and one plague- positive ground squirrel from an adjacent campground in Vogel Flats in 1995.

Transmission of plague through flea bites causes bubonic plague, with symptoms including enlargement of lymph glands (buboes) near the flea bite and rapid onset of fever and chills. Untreated bubonic plague can progress to infection of the blood, or rarely, the lungs, causing pneumonic plague. All forms of the disease can be fatal if not treated; however, most patients respond well to antibiotic therapy.

Individuals visiting recreational areas near the Broken Blade, Twisted Arrow, and Pima Loops of the Table Mountain Campgrounds need to take certain precautions to avoid contact with wild animals that could be carrying plague- positive fleas. Visitors to recreational areas should not feed wild animals, not leave edible trash out where wild animals can get to it, avoid camping or picnicking in the immediate vicinity of ground squirrel burrows, and should avoid taking pets into areas where they could be exposed to fleas. If you must take your pet into areas with fleas, please ensure your pet has appropriate flea control and vaccinations, as recommended by a veterinarian.

“Protection with an insect repellant containing DEET is also recommended for persons visiting the Angeles National Forest and engaging in outside recreational activities in other areas of LA County,” said Dr. Fielding. Insect repellant can help protect people against fleas, mosquitoes, and ticks. Products containing DEET are not safe for use on pets.”

Members of the public who see dead ground squirrels in recreational areas, or who want more information about precautions should contact the LA County Department of Public Health, Vector Management Program at (626) 430-5450.

The Department of Public Health is committed to protecting and improving the health of the nearly 10 million residents of Los Angeles County. […]

#####

Posted in Global Disaster watch, global disasters, global disasters 2013, Significant Event Imagery, significant events | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Epidemic of Pneumonic Plague in Ukraine?

Posted by feww on October 30, 2009

UPDATE – 9 NOV 2009

  • As of November 9, 155 people have died from swine flu and acute respiratory infections, including 11 people on November 8, Ukraine’s Interfax reported the Health Ministry as saying.
    • Total number of flu and respiratory diseases: 969,247
    • No of cases hospitalized: 48,972
    • Patients currently in intensive care: 446
  • Of the 11 people who died on November 8, three were in Chernivtsi region, two in Lviv, two in Ivano-Frankivsk, two in Rivne, one in Vinnytsia and one in Khmelnytsky regions, Interfax said.  “The epidemic threshold for influenza and acute respiratory infections has been exceeded in 13 regions and in Kyiv.”  Flu, respiratory infections kill 155 in Ukraine
  • “Government officials have gone on national television to deny other rumours that rural western Ukraine is in the grip of a deadly unnamed plague.” Globe and Mail

FLU/UKRAINE
Ukraine’s Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko wears a protective mask as she visits a hospital in Ivano-Frankivsk. Ukraine has closed schools and banned public meetings for a three-week period after confirming its first death from the H1N1 flu. Photo: Alexander Prokopenko/Reuters. Image may be subject to copyright.

  • “KIEV, Nov 8 (Reuters) – Ukraine’s leader Viktor Yushchenko on Sunday dismissed the idea a January election should be delayed because of flu fears and appeared to accept there would be no more IMF funds forthcoming until after the vote.” Reuters
  • Slovakia is  closing  all but one road border crossing with Ukraine  because of Ukraine’s “flu epidemic.” Reuters

UPDATE – 5 NOV 2009

“The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control said that as of Wednesday, some 500,000 cases of acute respiratory illness and 86 related deaths had been reported in Ukraine.” —Reuters

For more links, other headlines

SEE COMMENTS BELOW

“Plague epidemic” has reportedly killed 7 adults, with pneumonia claiming another 20  in the Ternopil region of Ukraine

SHOCK! Epidemic of pneumonic plague in Ukraine? (updated at 05:39 pm)

A closed meeting has been held in Ivano-Frankivsk, at which participants agreed that epidemic of the so-called “pneumonic plague” is being spread throughout Ukraine. But the problem is its form is unknown, it is ATYPICAL nobody knows how to treat it.

PNEUMONIC PLAGUE has an acute course than other forms, over and is accompanied by a very high mortality rate. The incubation period of primary pneumonic plague rarely exceeds more than 1-4 days. It begins, as a rule, suddenly – with shivering, fever, headache, myalgia, weakness, nausea. The symptoms of pneumonia – cough with phlegm, chest pain, shortness of breath – usually appear on the second day of the disease. Blood spitting, growing respiratory disorders, heart failure, respiratory failure, shock are being observed. In primary pneumonic plague phlegm usually is watery or mucinous, foamy, with blood or visibly bloody.

A secondary pneumonic plague occurs as interstitial pneumonia. Phlegm is scanty and more dense and viscous than in primary pulmonary plague. It is believed that in this regard, patients are less contagious.

As a reminder, yesterday, on October 28 flu epidemic in the Ternopil Region, which had appeared a week ago, mowed down nearly 10,000 of residents. Moreover – unknown virus has already killed seven people. Ministry of Health has confirmed 20 deaths from pneumonia in Ternopil, Ivano-Frankivsk and Lviv Regions. By Yulia Makoveeva, MIGnews.com.ua

China’s Ministry of Health reported an outbreak of pneumonic plague in Qinghai Province, China, in August, with 12 confirmed cases, of which at least three died. Up to ten thousand people were placed under quarantine in the town of Ziketan in Qinghai province in northwest China.

For more information on plague, infection control, symptoms and treatment, see

Posted in Epidemic of pneumonic plague, Ivano-Frankivsk, Lviv Region, Ternopil, Ukraine plague | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Pneumonic Plague Strikes Chinese Town

Posted by feww on August 2, 2009

For Updates See Comments Section

Chinese town quarantined after plague kills 1, infects 11 others

Up to ten thousand people have been placed under quarantine in the town of Ziketan in Qinghai province in northwest China after a 32-year-old herdsman died of pneumonic plague and 11 others were confirmed infected with the deadly infection, AP reported the Chinese health authorities as saying.

ziketan china
Location Map, Ziketan, Qinghai province, China. Image source: Google Maps. Image may be subject to copyright.

According to the Associated Press

The 32-year-old herdsman died in Ziketan in Qinghai province, the provincial health bureau said in a statement posted on its Web site Saturday. It didn’t say when he died. Most of the others infected are relatives of the deceased and are in stable condition in a hospital, the bureau said. The town of 10,000 people has been placed under quarantine and a team of experts has been sent to the area, it said.

An emergency Health Bulletin issued by the Qinghai health bureau has warned all visitors to Ziketan and neighbouring areas since July 16 who may have developed a fever or a cough to seek medical treatment.

What’s Plague?

Plague is an infectious disease caused by bacteria called Yersinia pestis. The bacteria are found mainly in rodents, particularly rats, and in the fleas that feed on them. Other animals and humans usually contract the bacteria from rodent or flea bites, the US National Institute of Health (NIH) said. The bacteria can also spread from person to person through the air by coughing. When transmission occurs through the air, Y. pestis infects the lungs. [See below for the disease forms.]

Historically, plague destroyed entire civilizations. In the 1300s, the “Black Death,” as it was called, killed approximately one-third (20 to 30 million) of Europe’s population. In the mid-1800s, it killed 12 million people in China. Today, thanks to better living conditions, antibiotics, and improved sanitation, current World Health Organization statistics show there were only 2,118 cases in 2003 worldwide.

About 20 people in the United States are diagnosed with bubonic plague each year caused by flea or rodent bites—mostly from infected prairie dogs—in countryside in the southwestern United States, according to NIH.  “About 1 in 7 of those infected die from the disease. There has not been a case of person-to-person infection in the United States since 1924.”

There have also been small plague outbreaks in Asia, Africa, and South America.

What’s Pneumonic Plague?

Yersinia pestis
Image: Yersinia pestis. Fluorescence antibody positivity is seen as bright, intense green staining around the bacterial cell. [Source: CDC]

Facts about Pneumonic Plague [Information Sourced from CDC]

PHIL_2050_lores
Image: Wayson stain of Yersinia pestis. Wayson stain of Yersinia pestis. Note the characteristic “safety pin” appearance of the bacteria
. [Source: CDC]

Plague is an infectious disease that affects animals and humans. It is caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis. This bacterium is found in rodents and their fleas and occurs in many areas of the world, including the United States.

Y. pestis is easily destroyed by sunlight and drying. Even so, when released into air, the bacterium will survive for up to one hour, although this could vary depending on conditions.

PHIL_4091_lores
This patient presented with symptoms of plague that included gangrene of the right hand causing necrosis of the fingers. In this case, the presence of systemically disseminated plague bacteria Y. pestis, i.e. septicemia, predisposed this patient to abnormal coagulation within the blood vessels of his fingers.
Photo: CDC 1975. Caption: CDC/ CDC/Dr. Jack Poland

Pneumonic plague is one of several forms of plague. Depending on circumstances, these forms may occur separately or in combination:

  • Pneumonic plague occurs when Y. pestis infects the lungs. This type of plague can spread from person to person through the air. Transmission can take place if someone breathes in aerosolized bacteria, which could happen in a bioterrorist attack. Pneumonic plague is also spread by breathing in Y. pestis suspended in respiratory droplets from a person (or animal) with pneumonic plague. Becoming infected in this way usually requires direct and close contact with the ill person or animal. Pneumonic plague may also occur if a person with bubonic or septicemic plague is untreated and the bacteria spread to the lungs.
  • Bubonic plague is the most common form of plague. This occurs when an infected flea bites a person or when materials contaminated with Y. pestis enter through a break in a person’s skin. Patients develop swollen, tender lymph glands (called buboes) and fever, headache, chills, and weakness. Bubonic plague does not spread from person to person.
  • Septicemic plague occurs when plague bacteria multiply in the blood. It can be a complication of pneumonic or bubonic plague or it can occur by itself. When it occurs alone, it is caused in the same ways as bubonic plague; however, buboes do not develop. Patients have fever, chills, prostration, abdominal pain, shock, and bleeding into skin and other organs. Septicemic plague does not spread from person to person.

Symptoms and Treatment

PHIL_4139_loresThis patient presented with symptoms of plague that included gangrene of the right foot causing necrosis of the toes. In this case, the presence of systemically disseminated plague bacteria Y. pestis, i.e. septicemia, predisposed this patient to abnormal coagulation within the blood vessels of his toes. Photo CDC. Caption: CDC/William Archibald

With pneumonic plague, the first signs of illness are fever, headache, weakness, and rapidly developing pneumonia with shortness of breath, chest pain, cough, and sometimes bloody or watery sputum. The pneumonia progresses for 2 to 4 days and may cause respiratory failure and shock. Without early treatment, patients may die.

Early treatment of pneumonic plague is essential. To reduce the chance of death, antibiotics must be given within 24 hours of first symptoms. Streptomycin, gentamicin, the tetracyclines, and chloramphenicol are all effective against pneumonic plague.

Antibiotic treatment for 7 days will protect people who have had direct, close contact with infected patients. Wearing a close-fitting surgical mask also protects against infection.

A plague vaccine is not currently available for use in the United States.

Plague Information: Infection Control

6581_lores
During the 1975 Rhodesian, (now Zimbabwe), Marburg epidemiologic investigation, health officials came across this African farmer with an inguinal bubo. Photo: CDC 1975. Caption: CDC/ Dr. J. Lyle Conrad

The epidemiologists uncovered an outbreak of plague amongst the local farmers, and treated these patients with oral antibiotics. Sanitarians were quickly dispatched to spray huts for fleas, and then trap rats carrying the pathogenic agent, Yersinia pestis bacterium.

PHIL_4140_lores
This patient acquired a plague infection through abrasions on his upper right leg. Bubonic plague is transmitted through the bite of an infected flea, or as in this case, exposure to inoculated material through a break in the skin. Symptoms include swollen, tender lymph glands known as buboes. Photo: CDC 1975. Caption: CDC/ CDC/Dr. Jack Poland

6720_lores
This photograph depicts the shaved anterior thoracoabdominal region of a rock squirrel, Spermophilus variegatus, formerly known as Citellus variegatus, which is afflicted with the plague. This squirrel is displaying a petechial rash, which is similar in appearance to those found on humans also afflicted with Yersinia pestis. A petechial rash refers to small, pinpoint, flat lesions of the skin and mucous membranes that are associated with hemorrhages beneath the skin surface. Photo: CDC 1977. Caption: CDC/ William Archibald; Laboratory/ Ft. Collins

Posted in bacterium Yersinia pestis, China plague, chloramphenico, gentamicin, Infection Control, Streptomycin, the tetracyclines | Tagged: , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Defective Roman Gene Responsible for Higher HIV Rates?

Posted by feww on September 4, 2008

Roman Empire ‘raised HIV threat’

BBC News Bulletin – September 4, 2008

The spread of the Roman Empire through Europe could help explain why those living in its former colonies are more vulnerable to HIV.

The claim, by French researchers, is that people once ruled by Rome are less likely to have a gene variant which protects against HIV.

This includes England, France, Greece and Spain, New Scientist reports.

Roman marble statue of Apollo from the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek. The god is depicted with his attributes, the lyre and the sacred snake Python. The tree trunk around which the snake is wrapped is inscribed with the words “Apollonios made it”. Circa 150 AD, restored c. 1790. Item number IN 1632.

Copyleft: Credit: ChrisO.

….

Others argue the difference is linked to a far larger event, such as the spread of bubonic plague or smallpox.

The idea that something carried by the occupying Romans could have a widespread influence on the genes of modern Europeans comes from researchers at the University of Provence.

They say that the frequency of the variant corresponds closely with the shifting boundaries of the thousand-year empire.

In countries inside the borders of the empire for longer periods, such as Spain, Italy and Greece, the frequency of the CCR5-delta32 gene, which offers some protection against HIV, is between 0% and 6%.

Countries at the fringe of the empire, such as Germany, and modern England, the rate is between 8% and 11.8%, while in countries never conquered by Rome, the rate is greater than this.

Legionnaire’s disease

However, the researchers do not believe that the genetic difference is due to Roman soldiers or officials breeding within the local population – history suggests this was not particularly widespread, and that invading and occupying armies could have been drawn not just from Italy but from other parts of the empire.

Instead, they say that the Romans may have introduced a disease to which people with the CCR5-Delta32 variant were particularly susceptible. This tallies with some other theories of why some have the gene variant, and some do not.

Researchers at the University of Liverpool had suggested that the variant could have offered protection against pandemics such as the Black Death which swept Europe on a regular basis during and after the Roman era.

These, said the Liverpool researchers, were viral illnesses which were lethal to people without the gene variant, raising its frequency from one in 20,000 people to approximately 10% in Northern Europe.

Dr Susan Scott, one of the researchers, said that the idea of Roman occupation being the driving force behind this was another theory to be considered.

“We just don’t know. This is just another piece of the jigsaw, but we’re waiting for the big piece of evidence which will solve this.”

Related Links:

Posted in England, France, Greece, Greece and Spain, Italy, Legionnaire's disease | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Naples Garbage Opera – Act II

Posted by feww on May 30, 2008

Partenope: Naples Garbage Opera

Act II: Confusion, Rodents, Vermin, Pest [and possible disease pandemics]

There are known knowns: Things we know we know

  • As per usual with Italian politics, garbage and football the facts and numbers don’t add up!
  • The garbage dumps near Naples reached their limit in Mid December 2007.
  • By Mid January 2008, some four weeks later, about 250, 000 tons of garbage decorated the Neapolitan streets.
  • The 6million inhabitants of Campania region (Naples is the capital city of Campania) produce about 7,200 tons of garbage per day (between Mid December 2007 and end May 2008 they will have produced a total of about 1.2 million tons of garbage ).
  • Germany’s Environment Ministry estimates that 52,000 tonnes of Italian waste were imported to Germany for processing in 2007. (Source)
  • A one-off deal was struck with the German city of Bremen to transport 30,000 ton of Neapolitan garbage to an incinerator in Bremerhaven.
  • Another deal was struck with Germany to haul 200,000 tons of the garbage by train to German Incinerators via Austria.
  • EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas said the European Commission would take legal action against Italy unless it resolves the garbage crisis in Naples. [Wow, that really scared the pants out of the Italians!]

The ongoing nightmare scenario could only get worse in the coming weeks when the summer temperatures soar in the Campania region.

Naples’s mob, the Camorra has been illegally importing garbage from Italy’s northern cities stuffing Naple’s landfills. “The Camorra has grabbed an even larger share of the city’s garbage-hauling contracts after vetting standards were relaxed to cope with the current crisis.” WSJ said.

[Of course, no one has told EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas that “throwing out trash has become big business” in Europe. “According to a March report by the European Topic Centre on Resource and Waste Management, about 15% of the continent’s hazardous trash, or 8.6 million tons, was disposed of outside its country of origin in 2003, the latest year for which figures are available.” Wall Street Journal reported. “Plants in northern Germany charge between €150 and €250 ($237 to $394) to incinerate one ton of waste, estimates Christian Fischer, a waste-management analyst who co-authored the March report.” ]


[Why is it so difficult to live without producing waste you can’t handle?] A woman and children walk past a pile of garbage in Naples, Italy. Photo: AP Image may be subject to copyright. See FEWW Fair Use Notice!

There are known unknowns: We know there are some things we do not know

  • How much of this garbage still fills the streets of Naples?
  • The estimates for the amount of garbage still covering the Neapolitan sidewalks (and elsewhere in Campania) vary from a misleading 100,000 tons to an unconvincing 200,000 tons.
  • About 700,000 tons of garbage may have been stockpiled in provisional sites. (Source)
  • Unless a substantial amount of the garbage, about 200 -300,000 tons, is consumed by millions of rats and other vermin, the total amount of garbage rotting on the streets of Naples and other town in Campania is closer to 400 – 500,000 tons as of end May 2008. What we know that we don’t know, is exactly how many rats are feasting on their Neapolitan diet and how many pizzas they can eat per head per day!

Unknown unknowns: The ones we don’t know we don’t know

  • In case of bubonic plague outbreaks or other serious disease pandemics caused by rodents, vermin, pest infestation, how does the Italian government propose to protect the rest of Italy, or the EU authorities the rest of Europe?

Relate Links:

[Note: The Known Unknowns …  was recited by the US bard, Donald Rumsfeld.]

Posted in energy, environment, food, health, politics, Tourism, Travel | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Seeking Toxic Asylum

Posted by feww on May 29, 2008

submitted by a reader

Partenope: Naples Garbage Opera

Protagonists:

  • Queen Partenope: Played by the entire population of Naples and Campania [and the estimated 1.2 million tons of rotting garbage]
  • Prince Armindo of Rhodes: played by Il Duce [the leader] of Italy Silvio Berlusconi and his gang.
  • Prince Arsace of Corinth: The garbage incinerators in Germany, Switzerland and elsewhere
  • Prince Emilio of Cumae [who is at war with Naples and with Queen Partenope] : Played by the Camorra mafia

Full List of Actors:

  • Il Duce [the leader] of Italy Silvio Berlusconi
  • Environment Minister Stefania Prestigiacomo
  • Camorra mafia
  • Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, head of the influential Italian Bishops Conference
  • The corrupt regional governor, Antonio Bassolino, and 27 others under house arrest.
  • City’s chief officer and special commissioner Alessandro Pansa (one of the 27)
  • Rosanna Laraia, head of waste management in Italy’s Ministry for the Environment
  • Billions of missing, misappropriated, or unaccounted for euros [ € billions ]
  • Environmental campaigner Francesco Pascale
  • Sergio Sedia and his wife Giulia
  • President Giorgio Napolitano
  • Just over 1 million Neapolitans (and a further 5 million people living in Campania region and the province of Naples.)
  • Hundreds of police officers in riot gears
  • Probably as many as 10 million “super-charged” rats and 100 million cockroaches living in the garbage piles throughout the city of Naples

Composer:

  • Germany’s George Frideric Handel

Act I – Seeking Toxic Asylum

In Act I of the famous Naples Garbage Opera, Partenope, Sergio Sedia and his wife Giulia request “toxic asylum” in Switzerland.

Sergio and his wife Giulia live in the “Triangle of Death” near Naples where the mafia has illegally dumped tons of toxic waste. British medical journal, The Lancet, reported in 2004 on “considerably higher cancer and deformity rates” in the area compared with other parts of the Campania region near Naples.


[Other than rats and cockroaches, what sort of vermin would transform its place of habitat to this?] A woman wearing a filtered mask walks past piles of trash thrown into a street intersection in protest in Naples May 16, 2008. REUTERS/Ciro Messere/Agnfoto. Image may be subject to copyright. See FEWW Fair Use Notice!

“The (Italian) government has not protected my right to health, and in this area people are dying of cancers caused by tonnes of chemical and toxic waste illegally dumped here for more than 20 years,” said Sergio.

Camorra mafia has been secretly dumping thousands of tonnes of industrial waste since the 1980s in what is “the heart of some of Italy’s best farm land,” environmental groups said.

“This area is nearly entirely agricultural, there are no factories, but has mortality rates for cancers linked to pollution higher than the national average. Here one doesn’t die of a heart attack or an accident, but from tumors,” said Sedia, 34, who works in the finance industry.


Silvio Berlusconi Prime Minister of Italy (President of the Council of Ministers of Italy). Born 29 September 1936, he is an entrepreneur, media proprietor and Head of the

“What I eat and breathe every day makes me afraid because of the products — the asbestos, the lead, the dioxins that are there in the air, the soil, the ground water,” he told AFP.

Fearing also for the health of their unborn child, said Sedia, “we decided to demand protection abroad and our choice fell on Switzerland.”

“We want to save ourselves, and only another country can help us, because if waste is one enemy, the Italian state is another in continuing to deny there is a problem in this area.”

“The Italian authorities are trying to act as if the problem of contamination doesn’t exist,” he said.

“I am not very confident when I see the authorities test mozzarella (over dioxin poisoning) because it is a valuable product, but doesn’t conduct tests on us citizens because we don’t have any commercial value.”

Earlier this year samples of mozzarella cheese, made from buffalo milk, were found to have highlevels of the toxic compound dioxin. As a result, buffalo farms in the Campania region were quarantined.

Japan, Singapore and South Korea banned the import of Italian mozzarella, earlier this year. (Source)

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