Enterovirus D-68 (HEV-D68) Update

Although lab confirmation is still awaited in some areas, the outbreak of severe respiratory illness in kids that we saw pop up N.W. Missouri a little over a week ago…and then a few days later in St. Louis…has now been reported in at least four more states.

This week we’ve seen media reports of hospitals being slammed with (mostly young) patients with respiratory infections in Ohio, Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, and most recently Colorado. While test results haven’t come back for all of these locations, local doctors are pointing their fingers at the emerging EV 68 virus.

Click through to the article updating reports around the United States and the world. About 4 days old.

Thanks, Mike

Grandma’s giant quilted penises on display at University of Missouri

Holly Stewart
Click to watch video

A grandmother whose time working at a sex toy factory inspired her to quilt “giant penises” is displaying her work at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Holly Stewart, whose gallery show was partially funded by a Kickstarter campaign, said the pieces on display in her “Holly Polyester: Local Grandmother Quilts Giant Penises” gallery show combine her love of crafting with her fascination with the subject matter.

“I just wanted to apply the things that I do — the crafts, the techniques, and combine it with the thing that I think about, and be honest…” Stewart told the University News student newspaper.

Stewart said her art was inspired in part by her time as a worker in a sex toy factory.

“I worked for a dildo factory in California and the company I worked for was one of the top dildo makers in the world,” she said. “I admired the woman that I worked for and I thought, ‘Well, I’m not making dildos, but I can make important work that’s sexually related and sex positive.'”

The gallery show includes Stewart’s giant quilted penises as well as smaller phallic works such as beaded Styrofoam penises and stuffed penises made from various colorful fabrics.

I have a neighbor who is a syndicated columnist writing about crafting and collecting. I wonder if she’s reviewed this show, yet.

Pharmacist busted who caused 2012 meningitis outbreak

US officials on Thursday arrested a pharmacist linked to a 2012 outbreak of meningitis that killed 64 people across the United States as he was boarding a flight to Hong Kong,..

Glenn Adam Chin, 46, had been a supervising pharmacist at the now-defunct New England Compounding Center of Framingham, Massachusetts. It produced tainted steroids that sickened 700 people in 20 states in the worst outbreak of fungal meningitis recorded in the United States, officials said.

Chin has been charged with mail fraud in connection with shipping 17,000 tainted vials, according to the US attorney’s office in Boston. The contaminated vials were sent to more than 76 facilities in 23 states. The steroid, methylprednisolone acetate, typically was injected into patients to ease back pain.

US prosecutors said they became concerned Chin was a flight risk when he bought tickets for a flight to Hong Kong…

Chief magistrate judge Jennifer Boal ordered Chin to surrender his passport, post a $50,000 unsecured bond and remain under house arrest until 16 September when his family returns from Hong Kong…

Chin is the first person to face criminal charges related to the outbreak, which pushed NECC into bankruptcy and led to stricter national regulation of custom medication makers.

If convicted, he could face up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Authorities accused Chin of instructing pharmacy technicians to mislabel medication to indicate it was properly sterilized and tested. Medications compounded by NECC were prepared, filled and held under unsanitary conditions, according to an affidavit from Food and Drug Administration Special Agent Benedict Celso.

There have been enough cases of creepy compounding pharmacies taking part in sleazy practices – ranging from unsanitary profiteering to volunteering untested, unregulated drugs for prisons and politicians who prefer to kill prisoners – to form an image of corruption, correct or not, in the eyes in the public.

I’ll let you know if I get deathly ill in the next few months. When I changed my Medicare plan in January the source I acquired for my one dinky preventative prescription is a compounding pharmacy.

The coffee genome has been mapped — woo-hoo!

Scientists have now mapped the genome of the Coffea canephora plant species, better known as the Robusta, which constitutes around a third of coffee sold worldwide. The results were published in the journal Science.

Robusta only grows in the Eastern Hemisphere, and it is the parent plant of the Arabica bean. Robusta coffee is known for its use in instant coffees and supermarket coffees, while the more complex Arabica species is known for its use in more specialty coffees.

The mapping of the Robusta species helped the scientists learn how caffeine forms in the plant and how different genetics produce different flavors and caffeine strengths of beans. The study found that plants used for tea and coffee plants produce caffeine through a different biological process.

With the new information, coffee cultivators can identify different ways to breed coffee plants to produce desired results, like disease resistance or plants that can grow in environments they’re not accustomed to growing in.

More coffee, more coffee, more coffee.

This should be one of those accomplishments uniting the Vegetarian Left and Science-Technoids. Unless you’re limiting yourself to Postum. :)

Infection, death risk increases with every day of hospital stay

Infection risk in patients increases by 1 percent each day of hospitalization, a new research reveals.

Researchers from the Medical University of South Carolina examined 949 documented cases of Gram-negative infection at their academic medical center. This study is the first to quantify the risks for patients over time.

The team noted that in the first few days of hospitalization the percentage of infections from Gram-negative bacteria (a multidrug-resistant one) was around 20 percent and the rate constantly went up as days passed and reached 35 percent at 10 days.

Researchers stated that the infections developed in hospitals represent a large and possibly preventable segment of hospital-related deaths. These infections are on the rise year by year. According to one European study, Gram-negative infections comprise of two thirds of the 25,000 hospital-acquired infection deaths each year.

The CDC says that around 722,000 hospital-acquired infections resulted in 75,000 deaths. A death rate greater than 10%. And folks wonder why we call our local hospital, “Saint Victims”?

Thanks, Mike

Air Force now ignores separation of church and state

An airman stationed at Creech Air Force Base in Indian Springs, Nevada, was prohibited from re-enlisting in the U.S. military last month for omitting the words “so help me God” from a service oath he was required to recite and for refusing to sign the oath containing the same words on his enlistment form, according to the American Humanist Association (AHA).

In a letter of complaint sent to the Air Force’s inspector general on Tuesday, the Appignani Humanist Legal Center, the AHA’s legal wing, said the airman — who is an atheist — “was told that his options were to say ‘so help me God’ or to leave the Air Force.’”

The AHA, which describes itself as “advocating values and equality for humanists, atheists and freethinkers,” characterized the ultimatum as a civil rights violation and demanded the Air Force correct the matter.

“Requiring [redacted] to take an oath containing this religious affirmation violates his clearly established constitutional rights under the First Amendment. This letter demands that you immediately allow [redacted] to re-enlist using a secular affirmation,” the letter stated.

“The Air Force cannot compel anyone to swear to God as a condition of enlistment,” AHA attorney Monica Miller said. “Doing so violates the establishment clause and the free exercise clause of the First Amendment.”

“Numerous cases affirm that atheists have the right to omit theistic language from enlistment or re-enlistment contracts,” she added…

…Until October 2013, Air Force Instruction 36-2606, under which the enlistment oath falls, stipulated that “airmen may omit the words ‘so help me God,’ if desired for personal reasons,” The Air Force Times reported.

On Oct. 30, 2013, the Air Force appears to have quietly done away with that option. “The relevant section of that AFI now only lists the active-duty oath of enlistment, without giving airmen any option to choose not to swear an oath to a deity,” the Air Force Times said.

You know, just because George W. Bush is out of office doesn’t mean all the idiots in government – and our military – are out looking for honest jobs. You still have to keep on eye on the clowns who would dilute and destroy what constitutional rights we have – for whatever out-of-date ideology they seem to need as a snuggy-wuggy.

Sleeping on animal skins may be good for babies — and other baby animals. eh?

Sleeping on animal skin may reduce a baby’s risk of developing asthma, research suggests…Germs in the hide and fur prime the immune system not to trigger allergies, scientists believe…The finding comes from a study of 2,441 healthy German infants whose progress was monitored until the age of 10.

More than half (55%) slept on animal skin during their first three months of life. They were 79% less likely to develop asthma by six years of age than children not exposed to animal skin.

The results, presented at the European Respiratory Society’s International Congress in Munich, lend support to the “hygiene hypothesis” that suggests too much cleanliness early in life can increase susceptibility to allergies.

Lead researcher Dr Christina Tischer, from the Helmholtz Zentrum Munchen Research Centre, said: “Previous studies have suggested that microbes found in rural settings can protect from asthma. An animal skin might also be a reservoir for various kinds of microbes, following similar mechanisms as has been observed in rural environments.

“Our findings have confirmed that it is crucial to study further the actual microbial environment within the animal fur to confirm these associations.”

Grandma was right. Of course, she only had to content with rural dirt, wild fur. Environments contaminated by industrial pollution probably still aren’t recommended sources for “natural”.

Thanks, Mike

Scottish Independence — Vulgate Opposition

If Scotland gains its independence in the forthcoming referendum, the remainder of the United Kingdom will be known as the “Former United Kingdom” …….or FUK.

In a bid to discourage the Scots from voting ‘yes’ in the referendum, the Government has now begun to campaign with the slogan “Vote NO, for FUK’s sake

They feel the Scottish voters will be able to relate to this.

If I was hanging out with my old mate, Morris, in his favorite pub in Greenock – that might get me nothing more than severely pummeled!

Thanks, Ursarodinia