More West Nile & Gearing Up for H1N1

More West Nile & Gearing Up for H1N1

More West Nile & Gearing Up for H1N1 plus Food Forethought. I’m Greg Martin with today’s Northwest Report.

Washington State is seeing an increasing number of reported West Nile infections. 10 confirmed cased have been reported by the Department of Health. Four of the people in newly confirmed cases live in Yakima County. Three more live in Benton County, one lives in Grant County, and one lives in Whatcom County. Most people who get the virus don't actually get sick. Health officials say that a few people get severe symptoms, including high fevers, tremors and even paralysis. But the virus is rarely fatal.

USDA is fully expecting the H1N1 virus flu to hit U.S. swine herds this fall and Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan say that USDA is gearing up.

MERRIGAN: We are preparing for this. I want you to be reassured again that every missionary of USDA is engaged in preparing for H1N1 as well as trying to deal with the fallout for producers, the pain that’s out there in the countryside for loss of markets. We are all engaged, we’re prepared as we’re going into this flu season.

Now with today’s Food Forethought, here’s Lacy Gray.

In reading a recent article on how politicians are scrutinizing antibiotic use in animal agriculture one statement jumped off the page, “you can hardly find a hand soap that isn’t antibacterial, meaning antibiotics are in its content”. Well, I thought I would check that out, so I did a search for the difference between antibiotic and antibacterial. What I found was that while both attack bacteria, they’re actually two different things. Antibacterials, such as alcohols, peroxides, or chlorine are used to eliminate bacteria on surfaces, while antibiotics are used as medicines for humans or animals and generally come from organic origins. There in lies the rub. Current government has been making “noises” that they intend to introduce legislation that will curtail or ban antibiotic use in animal agriculture. As some livestock and veterinary groups have stated “eliminating antibiotic use in livestock is not only an animal welfare issue but a public health and food safety issue as well”.  This type of legislation would be one more example of how seemingly good intentions could have dire consequences.

Thanks Lacy. That’s today’s Northwest Report. I’m Greg Martin on the Northwest Ag Information Network.

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