I’ve got brunch reservations this morning so the big story about the coming egg shortage is hitting close to home. We’ve also got a story about ISIS’ WMD and a bunch of stories you may have missed.
As a final reminder, the Early Registration Deadline for the Pandemics, Bioterrorism, and International Security is tomorrow, Monday, June 15. For more information and registration, please click here.
Enjoy the rest of your weekend!
Egg Shortage Scrambles U.S. Food Industries
The unprecedented outbreak of avian influenza in the U.S. has meant massive losses in the domestic poultry industry which has left experts warning that U.S. consumers are very likely to see an increase in egg prices. Cases of avian flu have been reported in 15 states, with Iowa and Minnesota being some of the hardest hit. “In Minnesota, the number of lost turkeys represent about 11 percent of our total turkey production…of the chickens we’ve lost that are laying eggs, 32 percent… have been affected by this” In Iowa, about 40 percent of the state’s egg-laying chickens and 11 percent of its turkeys have been affected. All these losses will mean a shortage of whole eggs and other egg-based products.
U.S. News and World Report—“Consumers haven’t felt the pinch too much just yet, but they are unlikely to emerge with their pocketbooks unscathed, [Rick] Brown [Senior VP at Urner Barry, a food commodity research and analysis firm]. He says two-thirds of all eggs produced in the U.S. remain in a shell, many of which are placed in cartons and sold in grocery stores. This stock of eggs has been hit significantly less by the avian flu outbreak than those used in the egg products industry, which Brown says encompasses “everything from mayonnaise to salad dressings to cake mixes to pasta to bread.”
Australian Official Warns of Islamic State Weapons of Mass Destruction
You may have already seen this, since this story was everywhere this week. Julie Bishop, Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, said the Islamic State (ISIS) already has and is already using chemical weapons. Bishop made these comments in an address to the Australia Group—a coalition of 40 countries seeking to limit the spread of biological and chemical weapons. In a follow-up interview, Bishop also said that NATO was concerned about the theft of radioactive material and what that could mean for nuclear weapons proliferation.
The Washington Post—“‘The use of chlorine by Da’ish, and its recruitment of highly technically trained professionals, including from the West, have revealed far more serious efforts in chemical weapons development,” Bishop said, using an alternate name for the Islamic State in a speech reported by the Australian. She did not specify the source of her information. “… Da’ish is likely to have amongst its tens of thousands of recruits the technical expertise necessary to further refine precursor materials and build chemical weapons.’”
Stories You May Have Missed
- In Ebola news, Guinea has extended the health emergency declared in March until the end of June and Sierra Leone has introduced curfews in two districts after a spike in new cases.
- Dugway Proving Grounds is in back in the headlines. Evidently, in 2007, the Army laboratory was cited for failing to properly kill specimens of anthrax. However, according to USA Today, no fine was ever issued and the incident was not disclosed to Congress.
- Park officials at the Grand Canyon are worried that local squirrels, mice, and prairie dogs may be carrying a form of bubonic plague. Let’s face it, they probably are, so this summer come for the views but stay away from the wildlife.
- Scientists in Sweden are developing their own mead—a wine-like drink made from fermented honey and water—as a possible method to fight growing antibiotic resistance. The team has found that bacteria in the honey are able to kill off human pathogens, including resistant ones.
- A study in Cornwall, England is looking at how surfers exposed to human sewage and pollution in seawater may be affected by antibiotic resistant bacteria. They’re calling the study Beach Bums because it relies on swabs taken from the surfer’s, you guessed it, bums. The researchers hope swabs from the surfers compared with swabs from non-surfers will help to clarify how environmental antibiotic resistance can affect people.
- The WHO is now reporting 138 confirmed cases of MERS CoV in South Korea. They have issued a call for continuation of “strong disease control measures” in order to bring the outbreak to an end.
- In response to continuing Russian aggression on the European continent, the UK says it may consider housing U.S. nuclear weapons on their soil. Meanwhile, Russia is accusing the U.S. of operating a secret bioweapons lab under the guise of the Richard G. Lugar Center for Public and Animal Health Research. I can’t make this stuff up, folks!
- Former Secretary of Homeland Security, Tom Ridge, and former Senator Joe Leiberman, released an opinion piece in Roll Call this week urging the strengthening of American biodefense, now.
Image Credit: Hannahdownes