For anyone getting a public administration degree, a serious outbreak of foodborne illness
is somewhat of a worst nightmare. The panic, the uncertainty, and the
heartache will be coupled with the demand for answers, which officials
may not have, and the need for an action plan.
The recent Escherichia coli outbreak linked to raw milk from a Portland-area farm has affected a confirmed five children, and has sickened four more, Oregon health
authorities report. The Oregon Public Health Division,
a government agency, was first alerted to a potential E. coli outbreak
April 13, when three children presented with E. coli-like symptoms at
area hospitals. The outbreak was traced to raw milk distributed from
Foundation Farm in Wilsonville. Authorities have ordered the destruction
of all milk remaining on that farm, and have begun testing in barns and
on nearby land for evidence of contamination. Anyone who has purchased
the milk is advised to dispose of it immediately. For now, the outbreak seems limited to milk sold byFoundation Farm.
The farm owns four dairy cows, and sells milk to local residents
through a limited “herd share” program. As such, the potential
contamination base is relatively small. “Milk from Foundation Farm and raw cow’s milk in general is not allowed to be
sold in retail stores in Oregon,” Christine Stone, a spokeswoman for
the Oregon Health Authority, said in anApril 13 press release. “The dairy only distributed to 48 households that were part of a herd‐share,
in which people contract to take ownership of a portion of a herd or
individual animals.” The families are spread across Clackamas,
Washington, and Multnomah counties. The Health Authority has made initial contact with each one, both to check
up on health and to give information about identifying the signs and
symptoms of an E. coli infection. As of April 17, the tally of confirmed
infections rests at 5, all under 15 years of age. Three are currently
hospitalized for acute kidney failure. Four more children and one adult
who drank the Foundation Farm milk have severe gastrointestinal issues,
though initial E. coli tests have come back negative. Health Authority officials are hard at work uncovering the precise source of the infection. According to theOregonian, all remaining milk has been confiscated, and officials have already collected a range of “environmental samples” from the dairy and
surrounding 17-acre farm. “Those samples are now being tested for
harmful bacteria by a lab outside Seattle that specializes in foodborne
outbreaks,” the Oregonian said. Raw milk from other sources is not currently under scrutiny, and continues
to be distributed by separate farms in the area. Oregon’s Health
Authority nevertheless warns that drinking raw, unpasteurized milk
presents an unusually high risk of E. coli, no matter how clean or safe a
dairy is. “Raw milk can carry harmful bacteria that can make you very sick or kill
you,” Katrina Hedberg, an epidemiologist with the Oregon Public Health
Division,told Portland’s KTVZ news. “Raw milk is not any healthier than pasteurized milk and can carry illness-causing bacteria.” The raw milk E. coli outbreak comes just as the Oregon Agriculture
Department launches a food safety training and education course designed
specifically to educate on and limit E. coli contamination at small
farms. A fatal strain of E. coli on strawberries sold throughout Oregon
in the summer of 2011 caused significant heartache for farmers and
consumers alike. The training and education course, which is offered in
partnership with the state’s various berry commissions, runs April 17 to
May 2 in various Oregon towns.
The state of Oregon has done an impressive job in urban planning and creating an efficient public transportation system. The cities of Portland and Corvallis are both shining examples of what public funds can do to create bike lanes to promote not only alternative modes of transportation but also health and wellness. As environmental and health concerns related to transportation continue to mount, cities like these will be important case studies in master's degree programs and other contexts of studying urban planning.
Portland consistently ranks in the top five best cities for public transportation in the country. Portland’s public transportation system is called TriMet and includes bus service, light rail service, the WES commuter rail, and the Portland streetcar. The TriMet system not only serves the city proper, but also the suburbs Hillsboro, Beaverton, and Gresham.
One of the best features of the Portland public transportation system is the downtown Free Rail Zone, which includes Pioneer Square, Union Station, and the Rose Quarter. In this central area of the city all light rail and streetcars are free every day of the year.
Portland also ranks at or near the top of most lists of bike-friendly American cities. Many public and private agencies provide free bike maps of the hundreds of miles of bike and walking paths in the greater Portland area. One of the most widely used agencies is the Portland Bureau of Transportation, which provides an extensive amount of information on their website.
Although the city of Corvallis is much smaller than Portland, it also prides itself for great public transportation. It's also known as one of the best cities in the nation for bike access, possibly even better than Portland.
Much of the Corvallis Transit System's ridership is comprised of students attending Oregon State University, located in downtown Corvallis. With a student population of about 20,000, it's comparable to the University of Oregon in Eugene. OSU depends upon the city to provide efficient service to its students as well as the rest of the community.
Oregon doesn't collect a state sales tax, which makes the reality of having one of the best options for alternative transportation in the country even more impressive. Because of the many efficient public transportation systems and efficient bike networks throughout the state, Oregon will no doubt continue to be an exemplar of public transit infrastructure and alternative transportation as we enter an age when personal cars will be more and more untenable.
I read an interesting report regarding specific risks that are indicators of the likelihood of contracting prion diseases such as mad cow disease, BSE, or CWD(chronic wasting disease), all 100% fatal. Researchers have determined that eating venison from deer killed in 3 states in the USA (Colorado, Nebraska, and Wyoming), hunting practices and related hygiene, which parts of the carcass you eat, and whether you are a regular visitor to certain parts of Europe where mad cow is endemic. I believe the authors understated the risk of eating animal brains and cuts of meat near the spinal cord For example, t-bone steaks, which are near the spinal cord, increase your risk. The report is a nice concise read for consumers who like to remain knowledgeable about their food.
Survey participants were asked about behaviors that could be associated with exposure to the agents causing BSE and CWD, including travel to the nine countries considered to be BSE-endemic (United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, France, Portugal, Switzerland, Italy, the Netherlands, Germany, Spain) and the cumulative length of stay in each of those countries. Respondents were asked if they ever had hunted for deer or elk, and if that hunting had taken place in areas considered to be CWD-endemic (northeastern Colorado, southeastern Wyoming or southwestern Nebraska). They were also asked if they had ever consumed venison, the frequency of consumption, and whether the meat came from the wild. Eurekalert Link
The Multiplicitous Health Benefits of Owning a Dog
When it comes to personal health and wellness, most people readily think of factors like eating right, getting enough rest and exercising regularly. Some people with busy schedules, such as doctors or those who are in medical billing and coding, meditate or practice yoga to reduce or manage stress. While others recognize the importance of balancing work with recreation and understand the value of being connected to other human beings in order to enjoy a satisfying life. However what some people aren’t aware of is that something as simple as owning a dog can be a major contributing factor to human health and wellness.
Dogs have long been regarded as man’s best friend, but it turns out that there is more to a dog’s companionship than unquestioning loyalty. Studies have concluded that dog owners tend to have better cardiovascular health than their non-dog-owning counterparts. This improved cardiovascular health can in many ways be attributed to regularly walking a dog. Scientists who have looked into the matter suggest that people who walk dogs have a tendency to walk for longer distances and for greater periods of time, which leads to weight loss and improved mobility, resulting in better overall cardiovascular health.
Other studies have shown that owning a dog may contribute to better blood pressure numbers and lower heart rates, suggesting that pets may be able to help their owners keep stress levels in check. Certainly anyone who has ever owned a dog can attest to the fact that the enthusiastic greeting of a canine companion at the end of a long, difficult day can provide a significant mood boost. Perhaps that is because it is such a relief to be with a creature that accepts its owners uncritically and with obvious devotion and affection.
This is particularly true for the elderly, who sometimes have a tendency to withdraw from society as their contemporaries begin to fail in their own health and wellness. However interactions with dogs, and the way that these relationships can lead to relationships with other humans, can help senior citizens have more meaningful, satisfying years.
Elderly adults are not the only people who can experience the benefits of dog ownership. Children can also make tremendous social and developmental advances through relationships with pets . When the child is expected to take some responsibility for the dog’s care, they learn many valuable lessons, as well as forming a mutually affectionate tie. Parents who assign tasks like walking, feeding and bathing the dog to their child encourage a bond of responsibility and sympathy between the child and the dog. This allows the child learns that dog ownership is fun, but also carries with it a burden of responsibility that can be applied to many areas of life.
Dogs can also assist human owners in a medical crisis. A growing body of research shows that some dogs are adept at sensing imminent health dangers in their human counterparts. Dogs appear to be genetically wired to be caretakers of their human friends, forging a mutually beneficial relationship in which the needs of individuals on both sides are met with speed, warmth and affection.
Given the many beneficial effects dog ownership seems to have on people, it should come as little surprise that more and more hospitals, extended care facilities and other health centers are making animal therapy a regular part of patient treatment. So-called therapy dogs bring joy and laughter into settings where such emotions can be in short supply, and where such positive feelings might do the most good. Volunteers bring their dogs to medical care facilities on a regular basis to help boost patient morale, creating a welcome change of pace and giving patients something fun and positive to anticipate. Even the staff and visitors at such facilities feel a positive lift to their spirits when a therapy dog is around, as few can resist the allure of a wagging tale and a happily lolling tongue.
For at least the last 12,000 years, dogs and humans have been forging close, beneficial relationships with each other. Centuries ago they hunted together, shared their food and protected each other. That dynamic has changed little through the years as people have come to prize their canine companions with ever deepening affection. Dog owners actively care for their beloved pets by feeding them nutritious food, taking them in for regular veterinary visits, grooming them and ensuring they get sufficient exercise. Yet dogs take care of humans as well by providing numerous opportunities for exercise and providing a welcome antidote to every day stress. A dog owner also has the satisfaction of knowing that they are never truly alone because their most loyal companion is always ready and eager to begin a new adventure together.
Corvallis has successfully increased ridership on our bus system by providing free bus service for everyone. A fee is applied to resident's utility bills to support this program. Check out the dramatic increase of bus riders between Feb and March 2011.