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Biological Health Hazard – Cyclosporiasis Outbreak: UK ex Mexico

It seems that Mexico is a hotspot for Cyclospora infections. There is no known animal reservoir so the infection is most probably transmitted when human feces are used to fertilize greens for human consumption.

Published Date: 2016-07-30 13:11:32
Subject: PRO> Cyclosporiasis – UK: ex Mexico
Archive Number: 20160730.4381665

Date: Sat 23 Jul 2016
Source: Outbreak News Today [edited]

UK health officials are seeing an increase in the parasitic infection, cyclosporiasis, in travelers returning from Mexico, according to Travel Health Pro report.

The cluster has been seen since June [2016] and many of the travelers stayed in Riviera Maya [Quintana Roo state], the same place where some 80 travelers contracted Cyclospora last summer.

_Cyclospora cayetanensis_ is a single celled coccidian parasite. Cyclosporiasis occurs in many countries, but it seems to be most common in tropical and subtropical regions. The parasite causes watery diarrhea, nausea, anorexia, abdominal cramps and weight loss. Fever is a rare symptom.

People get infected with Cyclospora through foodborne or waterborne means. Swimming in contaminated water is also a way someone can get infected.

Cyclospora has been implicated in numerous outbreaks with contaminated fruits and vegetables being the common culprits (raspberries, basil and lettuce all washed with contaminated water), especially those imported from developing nations.

All fruits and vegetables should be thoroughly washed before eating though this does not guarantee safety. Cyclospora is resistant to chlorination. Treatment is usually successful after a course of the antibiotic Septra [trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole].

Patients with HIV or otherwise immunocompromised usually require higher dosages for a longer period of time. Untreated infections can last from a few days to over a month.

Communicated by:
ProMED-mail from HealthMap Alerts

[A similar outbreak in UK travellers was reported in October 2015 where _Cyclospora cayetanensis_ was identified in 176 returned travellers from the Riviera Maya region of Mexico between 1 Jun and 22 Sep 2015, 79 in the United Kingdom (UK) and 97 in Canada. A nationwide outbreak of cyclosporiasis took place in the United States and Canada in June to August 2015 (see ProMED-mail reports below) and the source was suspected to be lettuce imported from Mexico.

It seems that Mexico is a hotspot for Cyclospora infections. There is no known animal reservoir so the infection is most probably transmitted when human feces are used to fertilise greens for human consumption. – Mod.EP

A HealthMap/ProMED-mail map can be accessed at:]

See Also

Cyclosporiasis – UK, Canada: ex Mexico, RFI 20151101.3759380
Cyclosporiasis – USA (05): ex Mexico 20150827.3606898
Cyclosporiasis – USA (04): ex Mexico 20150813.3576519
Cyclosporiasis – Canada 20150810.3569701
Cyclosporiasis – USA (03) 20150802.3553403
Cyclosporiasis – USA (02): (TX) 20150702.3479116
Cyclosporiasis – USA: (TX) increase in cases 20150624.3462421

Cyclosporiasis – USA (02): multistate 20140730.2646220
Cyclosporiasis – USA: (TX) 20140727.2638219

Cyclosporiasis – USA (14) 20130906.1926983

Cyclosporiasis – USA (02): background 20111002.2967

Cyclosporiasis – USA (FL)(03) 20050604.1564

Cyclosporiasis – USA (PA) 20040918.2584

Cyclosporiasis – USA (Missouri) 19990907.1574

Cyclosporiasis, basil – USA (Washington D.C.) (04) 19970730.1594

Biological Health Hazard – Anthrax (Human, reindeer): Yamal, Russia

Published Date: 2016-07-30 12:37:26
Subject: PRO/AH/EDR> Anthrax – Russia (04): (YN) reindeer, human exposure
Archive Number: 20160730.4381564

Date: Saturday, 30 July 2016
Source: The Siberian Times [edited]

40 now hospitalised after anthrax outbreak in Yamal, more than half are children
Russian army biological protection troops called in amid warnings ‘utmost care’ needed to stop deadly infection spreading. The concern among experts is that global warming thawed a diseased animal carcass at least 75 years old, buried in the melting permafrost, so unleashing the disease.

A total of 40 people, the majority of them children, from nomadic herder families in northern Siberia, are under observation in hospital amid fears they may have contracted the anthrax. Doctors stress that so far there are NO confirmed cases. Up to 1200 reindeer were killed either by anthrax or a heatwave in the Arctic district where the infection spread.

Specialists from the Chemical, Radioactive and Biological Protection Corps were rushed to regional capital Salekhard on a military Il-76 aircraft. They were deployed by Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu to carry laboratory tests on the ground, detect and eliminate the focal point of the infection, and to dispose safely of dead animals. The move confirmed the seriousness with which the authorities view the anthrax outbreak, the 1st in this region since 1941. The army unit is equipped with military helicopters as well as off road vehicles for what Yamalo-Nenets governor Dmitry Kobylkin calls ‘an extremely challenging task of liquidating the consequences — and disinfecting the focus — of the infection. I think this perhaps will be the 1st in the world operation cleaning up a territory of mass deer mortality over such distances in the tundra.’

Eight new people were admitted to hospital in Salekhard early on Friday [29 Jul 2016], bringing the total to 40, said officials. Earlier it was reported that 13 were in hospital. ‘As of now, there is no single diagnosis of the dangerous infection,’ said a spokesman for the governor of Yamalo-Nenets, Dmitry Kobylkin. ‘Medics are taking preliminary measures even if there is the slightest doubt over the nomads’ state of health.’

The 40 are all from a total of 63 nomads belonging to a dozen families who were at the site of the outbreak at Tarko-Sale Faktoria camp. The remaining nomads have been evacuated some 60 kilometres [about 37 miles] from the focus of infection in Yamalsky district.

A prolonged period of exceptionally hot weather in an Arctic Siberian district — with temperatures of up to 35 degrees C — has led to melting of permafrost in Yamalo-Nenets and other regions. The outbreak of anthrax earlier this week is the 1st in this part of Russia since 1941. Officials say 1200 reindeer have died in recent days, evidently through a combination of infection from anthrax, and the heatwave — unprecedented in living memory. A major [animal] inoculation programme is also underway with a local state of emergency declared at Tarko-Sale Faktoria camp, above the Arctic Circle and close to the Yaro To lake, some 340 kilometres [about 210 miles] north-east of Salekhard.

Anna Popova, director of state health watchdog Rospotrebnadzor, flew to the region on Thursday [28 Jul 2016] and insisted ‘all measures are now being taken to minimise the risks’. She denied there was a risk of a spread to other regions of Russia. But she warned: ‘We need to be ready for any manifestations and return of infection. The (Yamalo-Nenets) territory, which has had no anthrax in animals or people since 1941, and which has been considered free from infection since 1968, demonstrates that this infection is subtle. ‘It’s not the 1st situation when anthrax returns to Russia.’

Sanitation of the territory and disposal of reindeer carcasses will begin in the district in the nearest future.

‘To increase lab control, scientists from 2 Rospotrebnadzor research institutes are doing all necessary research,’ Anna Popova said. ‘Additionally, a lab has been deployed on the ground, and work is being done in the (scientific) institutions in Moscow and other cities of Russia.’

The concern follows an outbreak of the bubonic plague in the Altai Mountains in southern Siberia earlier this month [July 2016].

It is already clear that the anthrax outbreak has come despite major precautions against the disease in a part of northern Russia which takes huge pride in its venison industry, with supplies sent to other regions of the country and abroad. Officials insisted that last year [2015] almost half a million reindeer were vaccinated against anthrax.

One leading academic Professor Florian Stammler, of the Arctic Centre, University of Lapland, Finland, has warned of the serious risk of anthrax spreading around the Yamal Peninsula from this location, which he portrays as a reindeer junction. He told The Siberian Times: ‘I have myself moved together with private herders around the Yaro To lake. The location is an important pass way for many reindeer nomads, used in all seasons. The nomads with the furthest longest migration routes use it in early May, just before calving time, moving up North in spring towards their summer pastures.’

‘The 2nd “wave” of herders use this location as a summer site, where they group with several households uniting many small herds into a big one for withstanding mosquito harassment,’ Professor Florian Stammler said. ‘People stay close to the Yaro To lake for fishing there in summer. In autumn the site is again used as a pass way for herders returning from their summer pastures south heading towards the slaughtering sites in the south of the Yamal Peninsula. In winter, some private herders use the site and get supplies from the trading post in Tarko Sale. This shows that the place is very intensively used. Due to the high mobility of herders using this site, utmost care has to be taken for preventing of anthrax being spread all over the Yamal Peninsula.’

Experts believe that the reason of the outbreak is the unusually warm summer and the resulting thawing of the tundra. Anthrax has the potential to survive for a century or more. It appears that the frozen infection ‘was unlocked by the thawing of a diseased carcass from a long time ago’, The Siberian Times was told. ‘We have a significant change in our climate in this region. Global warming can be behind the return of anthrax.’ The reindeer here were weakened by the heat, and strong warm winds. The region has faced ‘hot days’ of temperatures in the range of 25 degrees C to 35 degrees C for around a month, it is reported.

The lethal anthrax bacteria turn into spores when frozen, but morph back into their dangerous state when temperatures warm. [Confusion here. The spores form in the soil in the summer heat. They survive well in the frozen permafrost. When this melts there is the potential for germination and vegetative cycling for a limited series before it resporulates. – Mod.MHJ] Potentially this process can unleash widespread old bacteria across regions with melting permafrost, as a number of scientists have warned.

The Sakha Republic, east of this region, has some 200 burial grounds of animals that succumbed to anthrax in the past.

The authorities insist the outbreak will not impact venison exports. They stress it was restricted to the site around Tarko-Sale camp, yet the warning of Professor Stammler that the location is a reindeer crossroads means there is no scope for complacency. A spokesman for the governor said: ‘This case won’t affect exports or the quality of meat.’ Most exports go to Germany, Sweden, Finland and the UK.

‘This case is local, it is about one centre — Yaro To lake in Yamalsky district. No other centres (of anthrax infection) have been discovered. Control and safety measures have been restricted across the whole region. There is no single chance that infected venison will make it to the slaughter complex: all of them, each and every patch is thoroughly checked in line with the highest standards. We’re interested in exporting high-quality venison just like it has always been. Our long-term history with foreign partners says that we are trusted and our reputation is precious. We’re hoping that this situation will not impact on attitudes towards Yamal products.’

Communicated by:
David Rockett

[Many thanks, David.

The permafrost melting in the heat is clearly the received cause of this outbreak of anthrax, but the actual cause has yet to be determined, as well as why so many reindeer have died. A difficult problem, but they now have enough feet on the ground to sort it out. Plus a great opportunity for training. Note that though “anthrax” has been confirmed in one or more reindeer, they state that human anthrax has not been confirmed yet.

As the reporting has continued, the location of these afflicted reindeer has moved from report to report. It is now, from this report and its map, 340 km northeast of Salekhard. And while this area reported its last anthrax case in 1941, it was not declared clear until 1968. And elsewhere they have been vaccinating half a million reindeer each year. Well, it is claimed so. In my experience with Russian numbers, there tends to be a confusion between the numbers of vaccine doses provided and the actual number of animals vaccinated. How many actually get vaccinated can be uncertain. – Mod.MHJ

A HealthMap/ProMED-mail map can be accessed at:]

See Also

Anthrax – Russia (03): (YN) reindeer, human exposure 20160728.4376306
Anthrax – Russia (02): (YN) reindeer, human exposure 20160727.4373872
Anthrax – Russia: (YN) reindeer, human exposure 20160726.4370736

A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the International Society for Infectious Diseases

Category A – Bioterrorism Agents

Category A pathogens are those organisms/biological agents that pose the highest risk to national security and public health because they can be easily disseminated or transmitted from person to person; result in high mortality rates and have the potential for major public health impact; might cause public panic and social disruption, and require special action for public health preparedness. — National Institutes of Health


Anthrax is a  high-priority agent and poses a high risk to national security, it can be easily transmitted and disseminated, result in high mortality, has potential major public health impact, may cause public panic, or require special action for public health preparedness.

Bacillus anthracis (anthrax) is a non-contagious disease caused by the spore-forming bacterium Bacillus anthracis. An anthrax vaccine does exist but requires many injections for stable use. When discovered early, anthrax can be cured by administering antibiotics (such as ciprofloxacin).[11] Its first modern incidence in biological warfare were when Scandinavian “freedom fighters” supplied by the German General Staff used anthrax with unknown results against the Imperial Russian Army in Finland in 1916.[12] In 1993, the Aum Shinrikyo used anthrax in an unsuccessful attempt in Tokyo with zero fatalities.[8] Anthrax was used in a series of attacks on the offices of several United States Senators in late 2001. The anthrax was in a powder form and it was delivered by the mail.[13] Anthrax is one of the few biological agents that federal employees have been vaccinated for. The strain used in the 2001 anthrax attack was identical to the strain used by the USAMRIID.[14]   -–Wikipedia


Venezuela: Prevailing Totalitarian Poverty Prevails

Socialism In Action: Venezuela Has A New “Forced Labor” Law That Can Require People To Work In Fields…

The law will “guarantee social justice” according to the Socialists in power. S0und familiar?

Via Vice News:

International human rights activists are complaining that new laws have introduced forced labour in Venezuela.

“A new decree establishing that any employee in Venezuela can be effectively made to work in the country’s fields as a way to fight the current food crisis is unlawful and effectively amounts to forced labor,” Amnesty International said in a statement released on Thursday.

President Nicolás Maduro signed a decree at the end of last week that gives powers to the labor ministry to order “all workers from the public and private sector with enough physical capabilities and technical know-how” to join a government drive aimed at increasing food production.

They can be required to work in the agricultural sector for a 60-day period that can be extended for another 60 days “if the circumstances require it.” […[

The latest decree states its aim is to “guarantee food supply, social justice, and democracy,” and claims it is necessary as “a defense against the economic war.” It comes at a time when President Maduro is also struggling to hold off efforts by the political opposition to force a referendum on whether he should remain in office.

ZIP | July 29, 2016


Venezuela Implements SERFDOM To Cope With Food Shortages

In a desperate effort to cope with worsening food shortages, the government of Venezuela has approved a new law that allows the government to force citizens into agricultural labor.


“We pretend to work and they pretend to pay us.”

Directive 10-289

It’s purpose was to freeze the economy in place and to stealthily incorporate slavery to the state using supposed altruistic social pressures and buzz words. Directive 10-289 is modeled on actual practices carried out by various communist states around the globe, although rarely were all of these brought into practice in one fell swoop as they are in Atlas Shrugged.


See Also

A Model of Delusional Prosperity: Venezuelan Socialism

Biological Health Hazard – Antibiotic resistance bacteria (VRSA), [environmental contamination – sewage]: Florida

Published Date: 2016-07-28 15:40:52
Subject: PRO/AH/EDR> Vancomycin resistance – USA: (FL) E. faecium, sewage spill, envir. contam., 2014
Archive Number: 20160728.4376123

Date: Friday, 15 July 2016
Source: Applied and Environmental Microbiology [edited]

Citation: Young S, Nayak B, Sun S, Badgley B, Rohr J, Harwood VJ: Vancomycin resistant enterococci and bacterial community structure following a sewage spill into an aquatic environment. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2016; pii: AEM.01927-16. [Epub ahead of print]. DOI: 10.1128/AEM.01927-16

Sewage spills can release antibiotic resistant bacteria to surface waters, contributing to environmental reservoirs and potentially impacting human health. Vancomycin resistant enterococci (VRE) are nosocomial pathogens that have been detected in environmental habitats including soil, water, beach sands and wildlife feces. However, VRE harboring _vanA_ genes that confer high-level resistance have infrequently been found outside of clinical settings in the U.S. This study found culturable _Enterococcus faecium_ harboring the _vanA_ gene in water and sediment up to 3 days after a sewage spill, and the qPCR signal for _vanA_ persisted for an additional week. Culturable enterococci levels in water exceeded recreational water guidelines for 2 weeks following the spill, declining about 5 orders of magnitude in sediments and 2 orders of magnitude in the water column over 6 weeks. Analysis of bacterial taxa via 16S rRNA gene sequencing showed changes in community structure through time following the sewage spill in both sediment and water. The spread of opportunistic pathogens harboring high level vancomycin resistance genes beyond hospitals and into the broader community and associated habitats is a potential threat to public health, requiring further studies examining the persistence, occurrence and survival of VRE in different environmental matrices.

Significance of the study: vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) are harmful bacteria that are resistant to the powerful antibiotic vancomycin, used as a last resort against many infections. This study followed the release of VRE in a major sewage spill, and their persistence over time. Such events can act as a means of spreading vancomycin-resistant bacteria in the environment, which can eventually impact human health.

Communicated by:
Philip Henika
USDA, Agricultural Research Service, retired

[Enterococci are Gram-positive cocci that normally inhabit the lower gastrointestinal tract of animals, including humans. They commonly cause both community-acquired and nosocomial infections, which include urinary tract infection, biliary sepsis, and other intra-abdominal infections, wound infections, bacteremia, and endocarditis. The most common enterococcal pathogens are _Enterococcus faecalis_ and _Enterococcus faecium_.

Vancomycin is a glycopeptide antibiotic that has been used to treat infections caused by antibiotic-resistant Gram-positive bacteria, including enterococci. However, vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) have become increasingly common worldwide since they were 1st reported in 1988 in the UK and France. Although _E. faecalis_ is more common overall among clinical isolates, _E. faecium_ is more common than _E. faecalis_ among VRE.

Of the several genotypes of vancomycin resistance, _vanA_ and _vanB_ are most common as they are located on mobile genetic elements that can readily move between enterococci. _VanA_ strains have high MICs (minimum inhibitory concentrations) to both vancomycin and another related antibiotic teicoplanin; _vanB_ strains have moderate to high MICs to vancomycin and are susceptible to teicoplanin.

Avoparcin, a member of the class of antibiotics (glycopeptides) to which vancomycin belongs, had been used in some countries in animal feed as a growth promoter. Because avoparcin confers cross-resistance to vancomycin, the use of avoparcin can select for VRE. VRE, i.e. vancomycin-resistant _E. faecium_ carrying the _vanA_ genotype, was more common in the intestinal tract of farm animals and humans with no exposure to hospitals and in sewage in European countries that used avoparcin in animal feed for growth promotion than in European countries, Canada and the USA that never used avoparcin in animal husbandry.

In the USA, where use of glycopeptides had been restricted to use in hospitals, VRE has been much more common in hospitals, detected in fecal colonization or infections in people with hospital exposure and hospital sewage, and rarely found in humans in the community with no hospital exposure or in food animals ( Once the use of avoparcin was discontinued in European countries, the prevalence of VRE among farm animals decreased ( In China, where glycopeptides, including avoparcin, are banned in animal husbandry, VRE reportedly has been rarely found on farms (

In the field study reported in the abstract above, culturable VRE and/or _vanA_ genes were transiently detected in sediment and water samples after a 3-day sewage spill released more than 500 000 gallons of untreated sewage in a residential neighborhood in 2014. The spill in this study was not in close proximity to any hospital; and sewage from the nearest hospital flowed away from the break site. The source of the VRE in this study was not explained. – Mod.ML

A HealthMap/ProMED-mail map can be accessed at:]

See Also

Staphylococcus aureus, MRSA – Brazil: (SP) vancomycin resistant (VRSA) update 20140422.2420131

Antibiotic resistance – USA (03): vancomycin, comment 20131125.2073470
Antibiotic resistance – USA (02): vancomycin, comment 20131118.2061191
Antibiotic resistance – USA: vancomycin, crow 20131111.2048866
Vancomycin resistant enterococci – China: (HK) E. faecium ST6/CC5 20130801.1858689
Staphylococcus aureus, MRSA – Brazil: (SP) vancomycin resistant (VRSA) 20130630.1800166

Vancomycin resistant enterococci – Sweden 20100727.2515

A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the International Society for Infectious Diseases

Biological Hazard – Pertussis (Whooping Cough), Contagious Disease Outbreak: USA – MN, OK

Published Date: 2016-07-28 18:24:02
Subject: PRO/EDR> Pertussis – USA (05): (MN, OK) increasing incidence
Archive Number: 20160728.4377210

In this post:
[1] Minnesota
[2] Oklahoma

[1] Minnesota
Date: Wednesday, 27 July 2016
Source: Post-Bulletin [edited]

An additional 20 cases of pertussis were confirmed last week by Olmsted County Public Health, matching the highest weekly number since the local health department activated its emergency response team on [23 May 2016]. [The city of Rochester, Minnesota is the Olmsted County seat and home to Mayo Medical School and the Mayo Clinic.]

The new recent cases bring Olmsted County’s 2016 total to 173, which is by far the most in Minnesota and the highest local level since the 2012 outbreak. Hennepin County [where Minneapolis is located] had the 2nd highest annual total in the state with 62, according to the [30 Jun 2016] report from Minnesota Department of Health; a new state report is expected to be released next week.

While more than half of the state has reported zero pertussis cases, Olmsted County has nearly matched Hennepin’s total for 3 straight months, including 52 in May, 46 in June and 58 so far in July [2016].

“Pertussis spreads through the air when a person who is contagious with pertussis coughs or sneezes and exposes others close[by],” said Pete Giesen, director of Olmsted County Public Health. “Although the cough can last more than 100 days, a person is no longer spreading it after the 3rd week or after 5 days of taking antibiotics, which is why it is so important to follow the guidance to prevent further transmission.”

The local health department says that the pertussis outbreak continues to impact day cares, youth camps and sporting groups. After just 7 cases were counted between [11-17 Jul 2016], that number nearly tripled to dash hopes that the outbreak was subsiding.

Pertussis, which is also called whooping cough, mimics the common cold for about a week before symptoms worsen. Coughing often comes in uncontrollable fits that can cause vomiting and is often marked by a whooping-like noise. It’s highly contagious and most commonly found in teenagers, but it’s considered especially dangerous for infants and the elderly.

[Byline: Brett Boese]

Communicated by:
ProMED-mail from HealthMap Alerts

[2] Oklahoma
Date: Thursday, 28 July 2016
Source: Tulsa World [edited]

Oklahoma sees increase in whooping cough as vaccination rate declines. State health officials cite waning immunity and decisions to opt out of vaccinations.

Oklahoma has seen an increase this year [2016] in the occurrence of pertussis, or whooping cough, a highly contagious respiratory disease that can cause serious illness in children and adults. Since [1 Jan 2016], Oklahoma has seen 70 confirmed cases of pertussis, compared to 86 confirmed cases for all of 2015, according to the state Health Department. “We don’t know how the rest of the year is going to play out, and if we might end up with the same number of cases, but certainly going through the halfway point of the year so far, we have noted that we have seen more cases this year,” said Laurence Burnsed, an epidemiologist at the Oklahoma Department of Health.

The agency’s investigations of recent cases have identified several case clusters across Oklahoma among household members and contacts within close-knit community groups, such as day cares and schools, Burnsed said.

[Byline: Jaclyn Cosgrove]

Communicated by:
ProMED-mail from HealthMap Alerts

[Outbreaks tend to occur in roughly 3- to 5-year cycles. For discussions of pertussis, please see moderator’s comments in prior ProMED-mail posts below. – Mod.ML

A HealthMap/ProMED-mail map can be accessed at:]

See Also

Pertussis – USA (04): (CA) increasing incidence, corr 20160701.4318528
Pertussis – USA (04): (CA) increasing incidence 20160629.4315517
Pertussis – USA (03): (CA) fatal 20160504.4202149
Pertussis – New Zealand 20160426.4184540
Pertussis – USA (02): (NY) 20160403.4135723
Measles, pertussis – Nigeria: (JI) fatalities 20160317.4101954
Pertussis – Australia (03): (NS) 20160316.4097729
Pertussis – Australia (02): (NS) vaccine shortage 20160304.4068067
Pertussis – Spain: (CM) 20160214.4018889
Pertussis – Canada: (ON) 20160112.3930921
Pertussis – USA (01) 20160111.3927199
Pertussis – Australia: (WA) 20160111.3926728

Pertussis – Canada (04): (AB,SK) 20150918.3653562
Pertussis – USA (13): (OH,KY,IN) 20150910.3637867
Pertussis – French Polynesia 20150907.3628904
Pertussis – USA (12): (AZ) 20150902.3617491
Pertussis – USA (11): (KS) update 20150726.3537082
Pertussis – Canada (03): (ON) update 20150726.3537081
Pertussis – USA (10): (KS) fatal, update 20150618.3446509
Pertussis – UK: (England) increasing incidence, 2014 20150506.3344092
Pertussis – USA (08): (NC) 20150418.3305675
Pertussis – USA (05): (OR) 20150314.3229781
Pertussis – USA: (CA) fatal 20150115.3093551

A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the International Society for Infectious Diseases

Radiation/Environmental Hazard – Missing radioactive HAZMAT (Uranium oxide): Oak Ridge, TN

Nuclear Event in USA on Monday, 18 July, 2016 at 12:30 [EDT]


The following report was received via e-mail:

“On Monday, July 18, Manufacturing Sciences Corp. [MSC] shipped five pallets (18 drums) of product containing depleted uranium oxide [DU] to a customer, Clariant, in Louisville, KY. On Wednesday, July 20, the customer contacted MSC to report only four pallets containing 14 drums were received by Clariant. When the bill of lading was examined by the customer, 5 and 18 had been marked through by hand and changed to 4 and 14. The carrier, was contacted and is conducting a thorough search of its terminal and investigating to locate the missing material. The carrier is routinely used by MSC for transport of product. Total activity of missing material: 271,285 microcuries DU.”

Tennessee Report: TN-16-100


Sources that are “Less than IAEA Category 3 sources,” are either sources that are very unlikely to cause permanent injury to individuals or contain a very small amount of radioactive material that would not cause any permanent injury. Some of these sources, such as moisture density gauges or thickness gauges that are Category 4, the amount of unshielded radioactive material, if not safely managed or securely protected, could possibly – although it is unlikely – temporarily injure someone who handled it or were otherwise in contact with it, or who were close to it for a period of many weeks. For additional information go to

Source: NRC  Event Number: 52111

Downward causation and existing preference…

“Elements at a lower ontological level affect those at a higher one.”

“Once habits become established they become a potential basis for new intentions or beliefs.”

In other words, if there are systemic properties and tendencies then individual components of the system act in conformity with them.

Institutions systematically direct individual memory and channel our perceptions into forms compatible with the relations they authorize. They fix processes that are essentially dynamic, they hide their influence, and they rouse our emotions to a standardized pitch on standardized issues. Add to all this that they endow themselves with rightness and send their mutual corroboration cascading through all the levels of our information system. … For us, the hope of intellectual independence is to resist, and the necessary first step in resistance is to discover how the institutional grip is laid upon our mind. –Mary Douglas, How Institutions Think (1987)

Reliance on habits and rules limits the explanatory scope of rational optimization.

Habitual modifications are consistent with some unchanging ‘meta-preference’ function.

Institutional changes and constraints can cause changes in habits of thought and behavior. Institutions constrain our behavior and develop our habits in specific ways.

‘The situation of today shapes the institutions of tomorrow through a selective, coercive process, by acting upon men’s habitual view of things’.

In meeting our desire for meaning we acquire the habits of thought and behavior of our culture. We use institutions and their routines as templates in the construction of our habits, intentions and choices.

There are situations where individual purposes and choices are molded as ‘brainwashing’.

Habit does not deny choice. Different sets of habits may give rise to competing preferences. A choice is then made, and this choice may itself involve a further cluster of habitual interpretations or predispositions.

On the one hand, choice is a largely unpredictable outcome of the complex human nervous system, situated in a complex, open and changing environment. On the other hand, our inheritance, upbringing and circumstances affect our choices. Human agency is neither uncaused nor generally predictable.

Instinctive propensities are heavily diverted or overlaid by habits and beliefs acquired through interaction with others in a social culture. Accordingly, habit is a bridging element between the biological, psychological and social domains.

Habits impel behavior that is, in turn, consciously or unconsciously imitated by others. Eventually, this copied behavior becomes rooted in the habits of the imitator, thus transmitting from individual to individual an imperfect copy of each habit by an indirect route.

Cultural selection, like natural selection works at the level of the population, not simply of the individual. It exerts ‘downward causation’ by exploiting mechanisms of imitation, conformism and constraint.

Political scientist have often discussed habit, but by making it an outcome of rational choice. On the contrary, it has been argued here that habits are developmentally and practically prior to any form of conscious reasoning. Even rational choices require habits as a substratum.

Remarkably, despite the uncountable number of mathematical models of human behavior in politics, very few examples are based on habit.

It may be possible to overcome the dilemma between methodological individualism and methodological collectivism. By acting not directly on individual decisions, but on habitual dispositions, institutions exert downward causation without reducing individual agency to their effects. Furthermore, upward causation, from individuals to institutions, is still possible, without assuming that the individual is given or immanently conceived. Explanations are reduced neither to individuals nor to institutions alone.

Circular, positive feedback from institution to individuals and from individuals to institutions can help to enhance the durability of the institutional unit. What would then be theorized is the self-reinforcing institutional structure. Accordingly, within an institutional structure, it may be possible to show that malleable preferences lead to stable emergent properties. These properties may exist not despite, but because of, malleable preferences.

To understand fully the ways in which human agents are molded by institutions we have to look at particular cultures, circumstances and cases. An understanding of the world requires theory, but it cannot be obtained by theory alone.

Excerpts from The Hidden Persuaders, by Geoffrey M. Hodgson

Published in the Cambridge Journal of Economics, March 2003, 27(2), pp. 159-75.

For example:

Report: ‘Seat Fillers’ Being Employed At DNC, Lockdown In Place To Prevent Delegates From Walking Out During Hillary’s Speech…

See Also

Study shows explicit judgments may differ from implicit beliefs regarding stereotypes

Meet Jonathan and Elizabeth. One person is a doctor and the other is a nurse. Who is the doctor? When nothing else is known, the base rate principle favors Jonathan to be the doctor and the fairness principle favors both individuals equally. However, when individuating facts reveal who is actually the doctor, base rates and fairness become irrelevant, as the facts make the correct answer clear. In three experiments, explicit and implicit beliefs were measured before and after individuating facts were learned. These facts were either stereotypic (e.g., Jonathan is the doctor, Elizabeth is the nurse) or counterstereotypic (e.g., Elizabeth is the doctor, Jonathan is the nurse). Results showed that before individuating facts were learned, explicit beliefs followed the fairness principle, whereas implicit beliefs followed the base rate principle. After individuating facts were learned, explicit beliefs correctly aligned with stereotypic and counterstereotypic facts. Implicit beliefs, however, were immune to counterstereotypic facts and continued to follow the base rate principle. Having established the robustness and generality of these results, a fourth experiment verified that gender stereotypes played a causal role: when both individuals were male, explicit and implicit beliefs alike correctly converged with individuating facts. Taken together, these experiments demonstrate that explicit beliefs uphold fairness and incorporate obvious and relevant facts, but implicit beliefs uphold base rates and appear relatively impervious to counterstereotypic facts.


Neuroscientists find evidence for ‘visual stereotyping’


Study offers evidence of unconscious thinking impacting conscious decision making

The controversial idea that information can be processed and evaluated unconsciously to change behavior has had a particularly impactful history. Here, we extend a simple model of conscious decision-making to explain both conscious and unconscious accumulation of decisional evidence. Using a novel dichoptic suppression paradigm to titrate conscious and unconscious evidence, we show that unconscious information can be accumulated over time and integrated with conscious elements presented either before or after to boost or diminish decision accuracy. The unconscious information could only be used when some conscious decision-relevant information was also present. These data are fit well by a simple diffusion model in which the rate and variability of evidence accumulation is reduced but not eliminated by the removal of conscious awareness. Surprisingly, the unconscious boost in accuracy was not accompanied by corresponding increases in confidence, suggesting that we have poor metacognition for unconscious decisional evidence.


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