West Nile Virus Cases Up 25% in Last Week

And worse more than half of the infections since the out break began are more serious versions that have higher fatality rates than the infections that just express as a bad flu.

DALLAS (Reuters) – The number of U.S. cases of West Nile virus rose 25 percent in the latest week, putting the 2012 outbreak of the mosquito-borne disease on track to be the most severe on record in the United States, health officials said on Wednesday.

It’s already the worst year ever in Texas, they said.

So far this year, 1,993 cases have been reported to federal health officials, up from 1,590 reported the week before, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in its weekly update of outbreak data. A total of 87 people have now died from the disease, compared with 66 reported one week ago.

The disease has been reported in people, birds or mosquitoes in 48 U.S. states, so far absent only in Alaska and Hawaii. About half of all human cases are in Texas, the CDC said.

Of the nearly 2,000 cases reported to the CDC this year, 1,069, or 54 percent, are of the severe neuroinvasive form of the disease, which can lead to meningitis and encephalitis.

The milder form of the disease causes flu-like symptoms and is rarely lethal.

Texas, the outbreak’s epicenter, has had 40 deaths and 495 neuroinvasive cases this year, said Dr. David Lakey, commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services.

About a quarter of the cases have been in Dallas County, he said. “This is our worst year ever in Texas,” Lakey said.
The previous Texas record was in 2003, when there were 40 deaths and 439 neuroinvasive cases. Texas has had 1,013 cases overall this year, Lakey said.

CDC figures – which sometimes lag behind state data – show that South Dakota has the next-highest number, with 119 cases and two deaths. More than 70 percent of the cases have been reported from Texas, South Dakota and four other states: Mississippi, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Michigan, the CDC said.

Do not leave standing water near your house and wear bug repellent when outdoors.

West Nile Virus Cases Up 40% in One Week in NY

From MyFoxNY:

U.S. health officials say West Nile virus cases are up 40 percent since last week and are on pace to rival the record years of 2002 and 2003.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed 1,590 cases of the mosquito-borne disease and 66 deaths so far this year. Half of the cases are in Texas.

Health officials think cases have peaked or are peaking now but likely will continue through October.

The disease first appeared in the United States in 1999, and health officials say this summer’s hot, dry weather may have contributed to the current boom.

To reduce mosquito activity and the risk of West Nile virus, the New York City Health Department has announced it will spray pesticide from trucks in parts of Manhattan on Friday, August 31, between the hours of 1:00 a.m. and 6 a.m., weather permitting.

West Nile has been spreading very quickly this year.

Michigan Democrats Want to Repeal Michigan’s Stand Your Ground Law

Representative, Tim Bledsoe (Democrat – Grosse Pointe) wants to trample on the self-defense rights of Michigan citizens. Our Stand Your Ground Law went into effect in 2006. Bledsoe recently introduced House Bill 5644 which would re-establish a duty to retreat to Michigan’s Castle Doctrine. This would require a citizen to first consider retreating during an incident when a criminal is attempting to harm them in public.

Twelve of his fellow Democrats are co-sponsoring the bill, seven of whom represent Detroit.  I use the term represent lightly. If there was ever a town where more citizens need to arm themselves and stand their ground against criminals, it’s Detroit. Apparently, this move was prompted by the Trayvon Martin case in Florida. These people fear there will soon be vigilantes crawling the streets of Detroit.  So instead of empowering people, they want to create more fear not just of the crime but of legal retaliation if they happen to defend themselves against it.

Supposedly this won’t impact our Castle Doctrine law. But if this bill gets passed by
hug-a-thug (Rob Taylor’s fave phrase) lawmakers, and even with the strides we’re making in other areas, more officials with this mindset will be emboldened to infringe on our rights to defend ourselves in our own homes.

To quote the NRA’s statement on self-defense laws:

“It’s a natural right. No law “gives” it or can take it away. It’s yours. It works. And its only alternative – the idea that distant, disinterested third parties can dictate after the fact that “you must retreat” – will never be accepted by the American people.”

I certainly hope it won’t be accepted by the citizens of Michigan.

Rick Ector of Rick’s Firearm Academy of Detroit is a tireless proponent of self-defense. I
urge any Detroiter or Metro Detroiter who is on the fence with this issue to at least check
out his Facebook page or his business website. He does a lot of interviews and debates with lawmakers and always posts this info on his FB page. In this video, Rick’s lawyer discusses the law we have now which will be in jeopardy with this bill.

 

I first heard of this story on the Michigan Open Carry, Inc., Facebook page. They’re keeping a close eye on this issue and will be a good source for info.

The Michigan House of Representatives has listing for reps in your area if you want to contact them and ask that they shoot down this bill (pun intended).

Source.

“Mystery Virus” Killing Thousands of Lambs in England and Europe

I put mystery in quotes because they know exactly what the virus is and are pretty sure how it spreads so there really isn’t mystery here. But it’s more pressure on the global food supply we don’t need. England’s Muslim population relies heavily on lamb to stick to their halal diets – when the prices of those lambs double than triple the Brits are going to have a problem on their hands.

From The Telegraph:

The Schmallenberg virus causes lambs to be born dead or with serious deformities such as fused limbs and twisted necks, which mean they cannot survive.

Scientists are urgently trying to find out how the disease, which also affects cattle, spreads and how to fight it, as the number of farms affected increases by the day.

So far, 74 farms across southern and eastern England have been hit by the virus, which arrived in this country in January.

A thousand farms in Europe have reported cases since the first signs of the virus were seen in the German town of Schmallenberg last summer.

The National Farmers Union has called it a potential “catastrophe” and warned farmers to be vigilant. “This is a ticking time bomb,” said Alastair Mackintosh, of the NFU. “We don’t yet know the extent of the disease. We only find out the damage when sheep and cows give birth, and by then it’s too late.”

It is unclear exactly how the disease arrived in Britain, but the leading theory is that midges carried the virus across the Channel or North Sea in the autumn. However, scientists cannot yet rule out transmission of the disease from animal to animal.

Infected ewes do not show any symptoms of the virus until they give birth, with horrific results. Farmers have described delivering the deformed and stillborn animals as heartbreaking.

The lambing season has only just begun, which means that the full impact of the disease will not be felt until the weather warms up and millions more animals are born.

On the Continent, some farms have lost half of their lambs. So far the worst hit in Britain have lost 20 per cent, according to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

Approximately 16 million lambs are born in Britain every year and sell at market for about £100 each. The effect of the disease on farms that are already struggling in the downturn could be severe.

“For any business to lose 20 per cent of your stock would be a huge blow,” said Mr Mackintosh. “For a farmer to lose 20 per cent of your flock is catastrophic. If it was 50 per cent you would be put out of action.

“I was talking to one who has 10,000 sheep. If he loses even five per cent of the animals born this year, that’s a hell of a lot of lambs. I know another who says 10 per cent of his ewes have become barren. He has 6,000 ewes, so that is 600 animals producing nothing.”

The Food Standards Agency has sought to allay any fears about eating lamb, although little is known about the virus so far.

That last sentence is problematic. If they aren’t sure how it spreads why are we sure the lambs are safe to eat?

In a related note the British government has admitted it’s totally out of money. When people start demanding free lambs the Brits are not going to be able to provide and then the London riots will look like tea time.

American Truckers Association Warns of High Fuel Prices Hurting Economy

Bob Costello of the American Truckers Association was on a recent episode of Varney and Company discussing how high diesel prices will impact the economy. You can watch the interview here.

Planning for these price hikes in your budget should be a priority. Some are predicting $6 a gallon gas by the summer so factor in huge jumps in the prices of any goods you buy that are shipped in.