When Jose Navarro landed a job as a federal poultry inspector in 2006, he moved his wife and newborn son to a rural town in Upstate New York near the processing plant, believing it was a steppingstone to a better life.
Five years later, Navarro was dead. The 37-year-old’s lungs had bled out.
His death triggered a federal investigation that raised questions about the health risks associated with a rise in the use of toxic, bacteria-killing chemicals in poultry plants. Agriculture Department health inspectors say processing plants are turning to the chemicals to remove contaminants that escape notice as processing line speeds have accelerated, in part to meet growing consumer demand for chicken and turkey.
The department is now poised to allow a further increase in line speeds, boosting the maximum by about 25 percent. This change is part of new regulations that officials say would make poultry production more efficient and reduce the number of government inspectors while increasing the number of private company inspectors.
(From The Washington Post)
15 May 2013 | Geneva - The world has made dramatic progress in improving health in the poorest countries and narrowing the gaps between countries with the best and worst health status in the past two decades, according to the World Health Statistics 2013.
The WHO annual statistics report highlights how efforts to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) have reduced health gaps between the most-advantaged and least-advantaged countries.
(From World Health Organization)
Canadians consume, on average, just over $220,000 in publicly funded health-care services over a lifetime, newly published data show.
Spending is fairly consistent across income groups, despite significant differences in the health status of rich and poor, according to the analysis from the Canadian Institute for Health Information.
People in the lowest-income group have $237,500 in lifetime health costs, compared with $206,000 for the highest-income group. The wealthy live an average of five years longer than the poor. But the wealthy also tend to be healthier, so their lifetime cost to the health-care system tends to be less.
(From The Globe and Mail, Toronto)
May is Hepatitis Awareness Month! Check out this info graphic from Whitman-Walker Health in DC about the different types of hepatitis and the treatments available. Check out the CDC’s website to find a testing center near you.
For the 37th time, Congress is voting to repeal the health care law, the Affordable Care Act. Learn what’s at stake for Americans if the law were repealed.
How would it affect you? Learn more at http://www.healthcare.gov/.
From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
People smell yummy to mosquitoes.
So yummy, in fact, that our scent is a big way the pesky insects track us down.
But just how much mosquitoes like Eau de Human may not be entirely up to the bugs.
Mosquitoes are more attracted to human odors when they’re infected with the malaria parasite, scientists reported Wednesday in the journal PLOS ONE.
Entomologists at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine gave malaria-transmitting mosquitoes two places to land: a clean, nylon stocking and one worn for 20 hours on the foot of young Dutch volunteer.
All the mosquitoes gravitated more toward the dirty sock than the fresh one. But the bugs infected with malaria landed on the smelly nylon more frequently. And while they were there, the parasite-possessed bugs were more likely to try and bite the stocking than the malaria-free insects.
It’s almost like mind control. The parasite changes the behavior of the insects for its own benefit. The more biting the bugs do, the more they spread the protists.
Malaria isn’t the only parasite known for such manipulation.
Photo of a beheaded Anopheles gambaie mosquito, showing its odor-detecting antennae, by the Zwiebel lab/Vanderbilt University.
The food industry spends over $1.6 billion dollars each year to market products to young people. This is a major concern in the U.S., as the majority of these products are for foods that are high in calories, fat, sugar and/or sodium. Food marketing has been connected to unhealthy diets and obesity.
(From The Weight of the Nation)
Tackling ‘the big three’
We discuss malaria, TB and HIV/AIDS, three infectious diseases that account for 10 percent of all deaths worldwide.
Scientists in India have unveiled a new low-cost vaccine against a deadly virus that kills about half a million children around the world each year.
Rotavirus causes dehydration and severe diarrhoea and spreads through contaminated hands and surfaces and is rampant in Asia and Africa.
India says clinical trials show the new vaccine, Rotavac, can save the lives of thousands of children annually.
An Indian manufacturer said the vaccine would cost 54 rupees ($1; £0.65).
International pharmaceutical companies GlaxoSmithKline and Merck produce similar vaccines but each dose costs around 1,000 rupees.
“This is an important scientific breakthrough against rotavirus infections, the most severe and lethal cause of childhood diarrhoea, responsible for approximately 100,000 deaths of small children in India each year,” India’s Department of Biotechnology official K Vijay Raghavan said.
“The clinical results indicate that the vaccine, if licensed, could save the lives of thousands of children each year in India,” he added.
Rotavac will be made by Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech. The company said it could mass-produce tens of millions of doses after clearance is given, expected in eight or nine months.