child eating strawberries

Australian PM calls for tougher penalties: The tainting of supermarket strawberries with sewing needles is comparable to “terrorism,” Australia’s prime minister said Wednesday, as he demanded tougher sentencing in response to a nationwide scare. At least 20 berries have been found to be contaminated with needles or pins, prompting a slew of supermarket recalls. Some stores in New Zealand have temporarily banned the sale of Australian strawberries. READ MORE

ANIMAL SAFETY

Chickens, hogs are Florence’s victims: The N.C. Department Agriculture and Consumer Services said Tuesday that so far 3.4 million chickens and turkeys have been killed by Florence, and 5,500 hogs have perished since the storm deluged the state. In preparation for the advancing storm, farmers were moving their swine to higher land, but the intensity of the flooding exceeded all expectations. READ MORE

Wild horses escape hurricanes ravages: The herds of wild horses that roam North Carolina’s Outer Banks have emerged from Hurricane Florence unscathed. Cape Hatteras National Seashore and Corolla Wild Horse Fund both confirmed on social media over the weekend that their equine populations are safe and sound following Hurricane Florence’s lashing last week. READ MORE

African swine fever changes worldwide pork outlook: According to a new report by Rabobank, the spread of African swine fever in China — and more recently to Belgium (close to France and Germany) — has substantially altered the worldwide outlook for the pork industry. Prospects for improved export demand have grown following recent events, while the potential for the disease to spread globally has grown exponentially. READ MORE

TERRORISM

Pussy Riot activist probably poisoned: The Pussy Riot activist Pyotr Verzilov who fell ill in Moscow was almost certainly poisoned, German doctors treating him in Berlin said on Tuesday, adding that he may have been the victim of an unknown “anticholinergic agent”. Verzilov was one of four members of Pussy Riot who were jailed for 15 days after disrupting the World Cup soccer final in Moscow in July.  Dressed in police uniforms, they were protesting excessive Russian police powers. Verzilov is the latest in a long line of Kremlin critics and opposition activists to have been apparently poisoned in murky circumstances, both at home and abroad. READ MORE

PUBLIC HEALTH

Physician burnout: Resident physician burnout in the U.S. is widespread, with the highest rates concentrated in certain specialties, according to research from Mayo Clinic, OHSU and collaborators. The findings appear on Tuesday, Sept. 18, in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Physician burnout is a dangerous mix of exhaustion and depersonalization that contributes to physicians making mistakes while administering health care. READ MORE

Eastern equine encephalitis: For the first time since 2016, a Michigan resident has been diagnosed with a case of Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE), a mosquito-borne virus that can lead to “lasting brain damage” and even death. A mosquito in Dekalb County, Ga., has also tested positive for the virus. Public health officials are reminding residents to stay vigilant to prevent the transmission of a disease with no known treatments. Read more  HERE and HERE.

Black Death redux: A Black Death plague in Madagascar last year has returned, leading to fears the disease could become a pandemic. A spike in cases led to more than 200 people dying from the plague disease in 2017. Epidemics of both the bubonic and pneumonic plague were brought under control in November last year after 2,000 recorded cases. The World Health Organization has warned this year’s strain could be worse. READ MORE

WEIRD STUFF

Ant cheese, anyone? An award-winning artisanal South Australian cheese has been seeing tremendous success in the U.S. Woodside Cheese Wright’s anthill cheese is chèvre encrusted with green weaver ants from Australia’s Northern Territory. At U.S. $253 a kilo, green ant cheese is one of Australia’s most expensive cheeses. READ MORE