Nov 2, 2011
Four Georgia men accused of plotting attack with ricin, explosives
Federal prosecutors are accusing four Georgia men, all at least 65 years old, of plotting terrorist attacks involving the biological poison ricin along with explosives, the Associated Press (AP) reported today. Federal agents raided their homes and arrested them yesterday, the story said. The men were listed as Frederick Thomas, 73, Dan Roberts, 67, Ray Adams, 65, and Samuel Crump, 68. Court documents say Crump and Adams tried to obtain a formula to produce ricin, which is derived from castor beans. The four men are also accused of trying to get an explosive device and silencer to attack government buildings and employees. The story said an informant who met Adams at his home in October saw lab equipment and a glass beaker, and a bean obtained by the informant was later tested and found to contain ricin. The court documents also accuse Crump of suggesting that ricin could be blown out of a car speeding down an interstate highway to attack people in Washington, DC; Newark, N.J.; Jacksonville, Fla.; Atlanta, and New Orleans. Adams once worked as a lab technician in a US Department of Agriculture agency, and Crump formerly worked for a maintenance contractor at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the AP reported. Investigators have watched the men at least since Mar 17, when an informant recorded a meeting they had at Thomas's house in Cleveland, a small town in northern Georgia. Relatives of two of the men told the AP the charges were baseless.
FDA starts testing pet food for Salmonella
Over concern about human infections, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has begun a program to test pet food over the next year for Salmonella, according to a Dow Jones Newswires story yesterday. FDA inspectors began taking samples of dry pet food, pet treats, and supplements from distributors, wholesalers, and retailers such as PetSmart, PetCo, WalMart, and Target. The agency said in a memo this week that it is "particularly concerned about Salmonella being transmitted to humans through pet foods, pet treats and supplements for pets that are intended to be fed to animals in homes, where they are likely to be directly handled or ingested by humans," according to the story. The FDA cited a 2006-07 outbreak of Salmonella linked to dry dog food produced in Pennsylvania, which sickened at least 70 people, as an example of the risk to human health.
Intubation, open wounds top list of MRSA risk factors in ICU
Top risk factors for contracting methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in an intensive care unit (ICU) were intubation, open wounds, treatment with antibiotics, and steroid administration, according to a study yesterday from Japan. Investigators obtained data on 474 consecutive patients admitted for more than 2 days to the ICU of a tertiary hospital, analyzing data obtained within 24 hours of admission on 11 prognostic variables. They used multivariate logistic regression analysis to identify the four top independent risk factors for MRSA infection. They confirmed MRSA in 30 patients (6.3%). Patients with intubation or open wound made up 96.7% of MRSA-infected patients but only 57.4% of all patients admitted. The researchers recommend preventive infection-control measures for patients with these risk factors.
Nov 1 BMC Infect Dis abstract