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Biological Hazards / Wildlife / Hazmat

Earth Watch Report – Sunday August 26th, 2012

Biological Hazards / Wildlife / Hazmat



25.08.2012 Biological Hazard Italy Region of Veneto, [Veneto-wide] Damage level Details



Biological Hazard in Italy on Saturday, 25 August, 2012 at 16:22 (0...

Italian researchers said a new strain of West Nile virus appeared to be spreading in the northeast area of the country. A new report from the University of Padua said the strain of West Nile first detected last month was different from the virus that caused outbreaks in Italy’s Veneto region in 2008 and 2009. Health officials in the area were urged by the researchers to increase their surveillance of mosquito-borne West Nile. West Nile has been appearing more frequently in the Mediterranean and Eastern European nations in recent years. The Padua study published in Eurosurveillance concluded the new virus had found a hospitable home in the area. “This shows that the virus is able to winter in wetland areas near rivers, where it probably has established its endemic cycle”, said Giorgio Palu, one of the authors of the study.
Biohazard name: West Nile virus
Biohazard level: 0/4 —
Biohazard desc.: This does not included biological hazard category.




25.08.2012 Biological Hazard USA State of Maryland, [Poplar Island] Damage level Details



Biological Hazard in USA on Saturday, 25 August, 2012 at 13:18 (01:...

Poplar Island attracts hundreds of species of birds, from shorebirds to waterfowl to birds of prey. But some of them are in trouble. Avian botulism is sickening and killing some of the shorebirds and waterfowl at Poplar, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services one of the government agencies involved in restoring the Chesapeake Bay island as a wildlife sanctuary. This summer’s heat waves and lack of rain have allowed avian botulism to thrive on the island, where dredged material is being used to reclaim the island as a wildlife habitat, said Chris Guy, a biologist with the Fish and Wildlife Service’s Chesapeake Bay office in Annapolis. Avian botulism is not harmful to humans but can cause lethargy and dehydration in birds. If left untreated, it can be fatal to birds. The concern started Aug. 2 when a black-neck stilt, a large black-and-white shorebird, was spotted with signs of avian botulism. In recent weeks, biologists from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Maryland Environmental Service have collected nearly 300 sick or dying birds, mostly sandpipers and mallards. A total of 78 birds have been sent to Tri-State Bird Rescue and Research in Delaware for treatment. The goal is to eventually allow the birds to be released. Biologists think they caught the outbreak in time to prevent a large-scale loss of birds. “By recognizing warning signs and taking decisive action, we were able to keep the number of birds harmed by this event very low,” said Pete McGowan, a biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. More than 130 species of birds have been spotted nesting, feeding or resting at Poplar Island. It has a particularly robust population of cormorants, as well as many egrets, terns and ducks.
Biohazard name: Avian botulism
Biohazard level: 2/4 Medium
Biohazard desc.: Bacteria and viruses that cause only mild disease to humans, or are difficult to contract via aerosol in a lab setting, such as hepatitis A, B, and C, influenza A, Lyme disease, salmonella, mumps, measles, scrapie, dengue fever, and HIV. “Routine diagnostic work with clinical specimens can be done safely at Biosafety Level 2, using Biosafety Level 2 practices and procedures. Research work (including co-cultivation, virus replication studies, or manipulations involving concentrated virus) can be done in a BSL-2 (P2) facility, using BSL-3 practices and procedures. Virus production activities, including virus concentrations, require a BSL-3 (P3) facility and use of BSL-3 practices and procedures”, see Recommended Biosafety Levels for Infectious Agents.
Status: confirmed



25.08.2012 Biological Hazard USA State of California, Burbank [700 block of Screenland Drive] Damage level Details




Biological Hazard in USA on Thursday, 23 August, 2012 at 06:35 (06:...


Updated: Saturday, 25 August, 2012 at 03:38 UTC
Health officials are trying to stop the spread of the potentially deadly disease Typhus, primarily transmitted by fleas. “Murine typhus, which is a disease transmitted primarily by fleas, has been slowly increasing in Los Angeles County,” said Dr. Jonathan Fielding, director of the L.A. County Department of Health. “It is not an epidemic. We had a total of 38 cases reported last year. We’ve had 15 confirmed this year and another 17 that we’re investigating.” Health officials say people can get typhus when their pets come in contact with wild, flea-infested animals like possums, rats, feral cats and others. “And some of the fleas have moved from those animals to your animals,” said Fielding. If one of those fleas from your pet bites you, you could end up with typhus. Health officials say the symptoms of typhus are similar to a bad case of the flu: headaches, high fever, chills, muscle aches and more. Another sign of typhus is a rather large rash that can break out over your body. “The good news is when it’s diagnosed it’s very treatable with antibiotics,” said Fielding. At least one human infection had been confirmed so far this year in Burbank, and two have been verified in the San Fernando Valley. Another three cases are under investigation, according to public health officials. In Los Angeles County, 15 cases of typhus have been confirmed so far this year, while another 17 were still under investigation, according to Fielding. The latest infections are part of a trend in which county officials have noticed a slight increase in flea-borne typhus cases over the past five to six years.







Today HAZMAT USA State of Texas, Mount Pleasant Damage level Details




HAZMAT in USA on Sunday, 26 August, 2012 at 04:05 (04:05 AM) UTC.

[This event happened on 24.08.2012] An ammonia leak at the Pilgrim’s Pride poultry packing plant on FM 127 in Mount Pleasant Friday afternoon resulted in a general evacuation and sent at least 17 people to the hospital. The leak happened about 2:30 p.m. Friday at the plant. Pilgrim’s spokeswoman Margaret McDonald said that contract workers were performing maintenance on the plant roof when the leak began and the plant was evacuated. Titus County first responders provided oxygen and chilled water for the employees as they were examined. Folding cots were also provided for the employees described by the incident as the “walking wounded”. The plant’s cafeteria was re-opened to allow the workers get some relief from the heat; at least 40 employees took advantage of the air conditioning. Because of the large emergency response, FM 127 (Monticello Road) was closed temporarily to through traffic. McDonald says all workers taken to the hospital were examined, treated and released, and the leak was repaired by 3:30 p.m. The incident was formally terminated by Titus County emergency services at 4:10 p.m., although some first responders remained a little longer. TRMC spokesman Shannon Norfleet told the Associated Press says the examinations were precautionary and no serious injuries or illnesses were found.




25.08.2012 Environment Pollution Sri Lanka Capital City, Colombo [Wellawatte] Damage level Details



Environment Pollution in Sri Lanka on Saturday, 25 August, 2012 at ...

A patch of oil reached the coast of Wellawatte, a zone of Colombo popular with local swimmers, the coast conservation department said. The national Disaster Management Centre (DMC) has said the slick is about 10 kilometres (six miles) long and warned that areas popular with tourists could be at risk. But the spill had not reached any such areas on Saturday and the conservation department said it did not pose a great danger. “The spill is manageable and the leak from the sunken ship had stopped from last night,” department chief Anil Premarathne told AFP. “About 10 or 15 people would be enough for this clean up.” The rusting 15,000-tonne Thmothrmopolyseara, a Cyprus-flagged carrier, went down late Thursday after remaining anchored outside the Colombo harbour since 2009 following a dispute over its cargo of steel, local officials said. The DMC said it had mobilised 500 volunteers, including security personnel, for a coastal clean up if the problem got worse.

Centre director Sarath Kumara said much of the 600 tonnes of oil from the ship had been pumped out before it sank and only a small residue remained aboard. The coast line from Mount Lavinia, a popular tourist resort just south of the capital Colombo, and Negombo, the first beach resort opened for tourism in the early 1970s, was at risk, the DMC said. The vessel had been detained by Sri Lankan courts following litigation over the cargo of steel valued at over $300 million, according to local media reports. It was not clear who owned the vessel. Sri Lanka’s merchant shipping authority director Ajith Seneviratne said they were ready to tow the ship away to a salvage yard in the island’s east, but were prevented by a court order against the removal.

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