NEWS SCAN: Avian flu, tainted Baxter flu materials, anthrax attack findings , drug-resistant malaria, homeland security, E coli in well water

first_imgFeb 26, 2009Avian flu detected in Vietnam, EnglandThe H5N1 virus struck poultry in another Vietnamese province, Dien Bien in the northern part of the country, raising the number of affected provinces to 11, Xinhua, China’s state news agency, reported today. Authorities culled about 1,460 ducks and destroyed more than 1,000 eggs to stop the spread of the virus. Elsewhere, British officials have detected avian influenza at two small Bernard Matthews turkey-breeding farms in England, but have so far ruled out H5 and H7 strains, the United Kingdom’s Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) said today[Feb 26 Xinhua story][Feb 26 DEFRA press release]Czech lab incident updateNew details about H5N1-contaminated virus samples that caused a scare at a Czech Republic lab emerged today in a report from the Canadian Press (CP). The tainted Baxter International product was an “experimental virus material” that was supposed to contain the H3N2 virus. The product was distributed to an Austrian company to subcontractors in the Czech Republic, Slovenia, and Germany. Officials continue to investigate.[Feb 26 CP story]Scientists share anthrax investigation findingsThe chemical components of the Bacillus anthracis spores sent in letters in the 2001 bioterrorism incidents don’t match the bacteria in a flask linked to Bruce Ivins, according to experts who presented their findings at an American Society for Microbiology biodefense meeting on Feb 24, Nature News reported yesterday. The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI’s) Jason Bannan, however, said that spores from the flask could have been removed and grown under different conditions that exposed them to different chemicals. The FBI has alleged that Ivins, who committed suicide, mailed letters in 2001 that contained the deadly pathogen.[Feb 25 Nature News story]WHO says drug resistance could stonewall malaria controlParasite resistance to artemisinin detected at the Thailand-Cambodian border could undermine global efforts to control malaria, the World Health Organization (WHO) said in a statement yesterday. The parasite can adapt more easily to monotherapies, so health officials have instead supported treating uncomplicated infections with a combination therapy containing artemisinin. The WHO said it has received a $22.5 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to help contain the spread of the resistant parasites.[Feb 25 WHO statement]White House orders homeland security reviewThe Obama administration issued its first presidential study directive (PSD) in Feb 23 ordering an interagency team to review how the White House coordinates its homeland security and counterterrorism capacities, Federal News Radio (FNR) reported yesterday. The White House has replaced homeland security directives with PSDs, FNR reported.[Feb 25 FNR story]E coli turns up in wells near outbreak siteSeventeen of 74 private wells in Locust Grove, Okla., tested positive for Escherichia coli, a pathogen that caused an outbreak linked to a local restaurant, the Tulsa World reported yesterday. The state’s attorney general has said poultry litter from area farms may have contaminated the restaurant’s water supply, which was found to contain poultry DNA earlier this month.[Feb 25 Tulsa World story]last_img read more

Sales down, vendors point to economy

first_imgAs the number of farmers’ markets on and around campus continues to rise, many of those markets — including the Trojan Fresh Market, which will be on campus on Thursday — have seen profits fall, though most blame the slip on the economy and not on the increased competition.Besides the on-campus Trojan Fresh Market, there are at least six other markets near USC. Many of these markets report that their profits are down, but individual vendors often benefit by selling at multiple venues.Farmville · A man shops for vegetables at the farmers’ market located at Adams Boulevard and Vermont Avenue. The market, which is near St. Agnes Catholic Church, runs on Wednesdays from 2-5 p.m. – Amaresh Sundaram Kuppuswamy | Daily TrojanHelen Lee, who manages the farmers’ market at the Shrine that runs every Tuesday, said she does not think her market is competing with the Trojan Fresh Market or any of the others.“We don’t consider us in competition with USC,” Lee said. “And the Trojan Fresh Market doesn’t affect our business. In fact, [USC] Hospitality came through here and took some vendors to the Trojan Fresh Market … We encourage that.”Lee said she never had any intention of making money from the farmers’ markets. Instead, she wanted to help the vendors make money, so when they’re approached and asked to join other farmers’ markets, she views it as a good thing.“[The Shrine farmers’ market] helps a lot of local neighbors who came here as vendors,” Lee said. “We’re definitely here just for the people.”Vendors at the Shrine, however, have also found business to be slow so far this year.Olove Boyd, an employee for Heavenly Delights, which sells cobbler at the Shrine and other farmers markets, said business is down right now.“Usually it’s slow in the beginning, but hopefully it picks up,” Boyd said. “I think it’s the economy. Farmers’ markets are not a necessity … When there are cutbacks, people take hits.”Boyd noted that it is USC that drives her business, even with the presence of the Trojan Fresh Market.“The majority [of customers] are students and USC employees,” Boyd said. “USC helps our business or we wouldn’t be here.”Dexter Scott, who sells beans at the Shrine farmers’ market, said he has also experienced a decrease in sales this semester.“It is one half of last year’s gross income,” Scott said.A farmers’ market on Vermont Avenue and Adams Boulevard seems to be experiencing the same problems as the Shrine farmers’ market. Most of the vendors are seeing less and less business, but still, they say the economy is at fault rather than competing markets.“Each year it seems to get slower and slower because of the economy,” said Luis Buenrostro, who sells produce.The market’s manager, Kimberly Edwards, said she also believes the decline in profits is because people do not have the money to shop at farmers’ markets. She said she does not think she is losing clients to other farmers’ markets in the area.“A lot of these customers who come here … they follow us where we go,” Edwards said. “Our business is slow because of the recession, and farmers’ markets are more expensive than the store.”Edwards added that USC drives the market, even though the Trojan Fresh Market is a more convenient option.“We got a lot of people from USC coming here,” Edwards said. “We see doctors, students, teachers … We get a big variety of people from USC.”But Meera Dahyabhai, marketing chair for the student group Environment First, which is involved in the Trojan Fresh Market, said she thinks the competition has affected Hospitality’s farmers’ market.“The revenue patterns have overall decreased due to competition with other markets,” she said.Still, she said she does not think the increasing number of markets is a bad thing.“It’s all about reaching the same goal,” Dahyabhai said. “The main goal is to fund that idea of organic and fresh products to support local vendors.”last_img read more