USDA raises bar for reporting inconclusive BSE tests

first_img The USDA came under criticism from the beef industry after it announced inconclusive BSE tests on two animals on successive days in late June. Confirmatory testing later ruled out the disease in both cases, but the public announcements shook the industry. The department expanded its BSE surveillance program in June by authorizing a number of state veterinary laboratories to conduct rapid tests on cattle brains. The protocol involves running one test and, if it is inconclusive, running the same test two more times, according to the USDA. Aug 9, 2004 (CIDRAP News) – The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) said last week it would no longer announce an inconclusive result in testing cattle for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) after just one test, as it did twice in June. John Clifford, chief veterinarian with the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), said the department would wait until at least two rapid BSE tests have produced the same outcome before announcing an inconclusive result. Initially, the USDA policy was to declare a test inconclusive on the basis of the first test alone. Now, after evaluating the labs and the data from the first 2 months of testing, the department will wait until the second round of tests is done before declaring a result inconclusive, according to Clifford.center_img USDA figures show that 32,698 cattle had been tested in the program as of yesterday, with no BSE cases found. “If either of the tests in the second run is reactive, APHIS will announce this result as an inconclusive and will conduct confirmatory testing at National Veterinary Services Laboratories in Ames, Iowa,” Clifford said. The expanded surveillance program was triggered by the discovery of a single BSE case in Washington state last December. The USDA plans to test more than 200,000 cattle over 12 to 18 months in an effort to ascertain if more BSE cases exist in American herds.last_img read more

The epidemic of statistical modeling studies that ‘predict’ the future: Don’t be a victim as you prepare for the next pandemic

first_img(CIDRAP Business Source Osterholm Briefing) – I’ve always been amazed at how some people use numbers to make their point. For example, I could say that, between the two of us, Barry Bonds and I average 378 career major league home runs. Of course, that doesn’t tell you that I account for zero of those dingers, and we all know that such an analysis isn’t statistically appropriate. But far too often such calculations seem to become fact if the number is repeated enough.As you make a point about a preparedness issue to a boss or coworker, your analysis may well include a couple of statistical calculations about the likelihood of a crisis. This makes sense. A statistical analysis that supports your conclusion adds credibility to your recommendations. In the field of epidemiology, we often say, “That which gets counted gets acted upon.”But be very careful about the statistics you use to support your proposed preparedness plan. In particular, take the vast majority of complex statistical modeling studies that often appear in the mainstream media today, offering a glimpse of what might be true of the next pandemic.Then toss them out.I know that’s a strong statement, but such statistical predictions, though intriguing, are largely voodoo science and reflect what I see as an epidemic of modeling activity. In my entire career I have yet to see a single complex statistical model regarding infectious disease that had any public health or medical impact.Flaws in statistical predictionsRecently published mathematical models are numerous, use complex formulas to predict how an event might unfold, and have made predictions on various aspects of the next pandemic, including:The likelihood of its occurrenceOur ability to avert it by early and widespread use of antiviral drugsHow it will unfold in terms of case numbers and deathsIf your preparedness plan uses these models to provide evidence for a certain intervention or to estimate the course of the next pandemic, you are grossly overinterpreting their validity.In 33 years in epidemiology, I have performed many thousands of statistical calculations along with my colleagues. Some of these calculations have had important public health impact, particularly when they involved disease outbreaks. I have also advised numerous graduate students who have used quite sophisticated statistical analyses.It’s with this experience that I feel confident saying that most of the currently touted complex statistical models don’t really tell us about the future. In fact, they very well may mislead us into preparing for something that will almost certainly unfold very differently than the model predicted.In recent meetings, I’ve watched a slew of statisticians deliver elaborate presentations with lots of numbers and wonderful graphs, all indicating that they have the answer to how the future will unfold and how any intervention will change the course of a pandemic. You will be tempted to use this information for your planning activities, since uncertainty is a difficult foundation for a plan. And we all want to be associated with those who appear to give us a glimpse into the future.But ask British government officials who used the statistical models from one of Britain’s leading modelers in the early days of that country’s epidemic of mad cow disease (bovine spongiform encephalopathy). That model predicted that the outbreak would produce more than 100,000 cases of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, the human equivalent of mad cow. Today, the epidemic in cattle in Great Britain and the rest of Europe is largely over. But only 167 confirmed and probable human cases have resulted—a far cry from what the best British modelers predicted.I believe our experience with the next influenza pandemic will play out similarly: The modelers will have missed the real experience by a country mile.One telling exampleLet me give you an example. Several years ago, two groups of statisticians—one from the United States and one from Great Britain—predicted that an early and aggressive response by public health officials during the first days of an emerging pandemic could avert the pandemic. The main strategy would be to attack the outbreak when there were still only a few cases, and only in one country. Officials would widely and quickly distribute antiviral drugs to the entire population and restrict movement of people out of the region.Well, these assumptions are just plain nuts. They fail to account for very real problems involving politics, economics, local customs, and healthcare disparities—not to mention unpredictable human behavior.We know that the rapid detection of H5N1 avian influenza in humans is problematic in many developing countries. And in previous clusters of human cases in Asia, many potentially exposed people actually believed that the antiviral drugs would give them avian flu, not protect them. Further, governments are unlikely to declare themselves in the first days to be the location of the emerging pandemic, because it will result in swift and widespread trade and travel restrictions with the rest of the world. These factors alone make any fancy statistical calculations predicting the future impact of the use of antiviral drugs in the early days of a pandemic null and void.The bottom line for businessYou should develop your organization’s preparedness plans on the basis of your professional experience and a range of possible pandemic outcomes. Don’t use fancy statistical models that appear to give you a clairvoyant glimpse into the future; they could one day mean you are so wrong as to lose your credibility.That doesn’t mean you can’t plan. A simple approach like estimating the potential number of human cases if the next pandemic is similar to a 1968-like one versus the one in 1918 is logical. Similarly, preparing for widespread supply-chain disruption is prudent.But every time you read about another statistical model that tells you how the next pandemic will unfold, be prevented, or otherwise affect society, be very cautious. If nothing else, remember the words of Sir Josiah Stamp, a former head of the Bank of England. He reminded us all of the power—or lack thereof—of statistical analyses:”The government [is] extremely fond of amassing great quantities of statistics. These are raised to the Nth degree, the cube roots are extracted, and the results are arranged into elaborate and impressive displays. What must be kept ever in mind, however, is that in every case, the figures are first put down by a village watchman, and he puts down anything he damn well pleases.”—Michael T. Osterholm, PhD, MPH, is Director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research & Policy (CIDRAP), Editor-in-Chief of the CIDRAP Business Source, Professor in the School of Public Health, and Adjunct Professor in the Medical School, University of Minnesota.last_img read more

Albatros Topside Has Landed

first_imgThe heavy-lift jack-up vessels Pacific Osprey and Innovation have transported and installed the offshore substation topside on the EnBW Albatros offshore wind farm in the German North Sea.Pacific Osprey had loaded the topside in Rotterdam. In the construction area, the Innovation lifted the topside on the monopile foundation.The Pacific Osprey will be jacked up and remain next to substation because of still outstanding coating and welding work, EnBW said.Afterwards, the jack-up vessel Seafox2 will come to commission the offshore substation.The transformer platform for the neighbouring EnBW Hohe See wind farm was already installed in the summer of 2018.EnBW Hohe See is located 95 kilometres north of Borkum and 100 kilometres northwest of Helgoland, while Albatros is being constructed in the immediate vicinity.The two wind farms will comprise 87 Siemens Gamesa 7MW turbines, the first of which are expected to be installed in April.The two wind farms have a combined capacity of 609MW and are scheduled to be commissioned at the end of 2019.Photos: GeoSea/EnBWlast_img read more

Ouseph beaten in Copenhagen Masters

first_imgHounslow’s Rajiv Ouseph missed out on a place in the men’s singles final at badminton’s Copenhagen Masters after losing to Danish star Peter Gade in their Group Two clash on Wednesday evening.After losing the first game, Ouseph took the second but Gade hit back to win the decider.Earlier, the British champion won his opening group match, beating Dutchman Eric Pang 21-11, 18-21, 21-12.AdChoices广告Gade also recorded a victory over Pang, defeating him 21-13 21-11 when they met on Tuesday, and progressed to the final after beating Ouseph 21-14, 12-21, 21-15.Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img read more

West Genesee boys lacrosse swept by F-M

first_imgFor the next 12 months, whatever else it might accomplish, the West Genesee boys lacrosse team must operate knowing that Fayetteville-Manlius has gained the upper hand in their decades-old rivalry.Twice, these teams played in April – hard-fought, low-scoring contests in the traditional mode of this series – and each time it was the Wildcats taking defeat, including last Tuesday’s 7-5 decision on the Hornets’ home turf.Back when these sides met April 11 at Mike Messere Field, WG struggled in the face-off circle and required a great defensive effort to keep the game close, though F-M still pulled it out 6-5. Yet all the Wildcats could produce was goals from three different players, Max Rosa and Ryan Sheehan both finding the net twice and Brad Cunningham adding a single goal.Jack Shanley’s two goals and two assists paced F-M’s modest attack. Mike Howe also scored twice, adding an assist, with Zach Nestor getting a goal and two assists. Vince Congliandro had one goal and one assist. Combined, goalies Ben Hammond and Jack Van Valkenburgh had 11 saves.Back home Thursday night, WG faced Cicero-North Syracuse, off its own narrow defeat to a rival (Liverpool). Both sides were hungry, but it was the Wildcats taking over in the third quarter and earning a 13-7 victory to complete a regular-season sweep of the Northstars.WG ha routed C-NS 17-5 when they met in April, but the Northstars were ready for the rematch, taking an early lead and, even when the Wildcats answered, pushing the game to halftime tied, 5-5.But once WG started to dominate face-offs in the third quarter, it translated to a 6-1 run, the Wildcats having Sheehan produce five assists and Max Rosa net four goals.Liam Sexton had two goals and two assists, with Cunningham getting two goals and an assist. Riley Small had two assists as Alex Rosa, Nick Louise, Jimmy Bergan and Lucias Allen also scored.Even with that win, WG knew that a bigger tatement could be made Saturday night if it went to Alibrandi Stadium and knocked off 12-2, state Class C no. 4-ranked Christian Brothers Academy.But the Brothers jumped all over the Wildcats, leading them 5-0 after one period, and WG never recovered, also shut out in the third quarter as it eventually took a 9-4 defeat.Max Rosa had two of the Wildcats’ four goals, with the others going to Louise and Sheehan, but most of WG’s chances were turned back as CBA goalie Z.J. Shanin stopped 17 of the 21 shots he faced. Wyatt Auyer led the Brothers with four goals as Ryan Mackenzie got a goal and three assists.WG would try for a regular-season sweep of Syracuse Tuesday and then challenge Baldwinsville on Thursday night before closing the regular season May 14 against Liverpool.Share this:FacebookTwitterLinkedInRedditComment on this Story Now, having used wins over Liverpool and Spencerport to bounce back from a lopsided April 23 loss to Baldwinsville, the Wildcats put itself in position for its most impressive win yet this spring.Down 2-1 after one period, WG struck for three unanswered goals and blanked F-M the rest of the half, taking a 4-2 advantage, but was unable to make it stick.Unleashing its own attack, F-M hit four times in the third quarter and shut the Wildcats out. Ultimately, WG settled down, its defense again playing well as Luke Staudt worked his total to 17 saves.center_img Tags: boys lacrosseWest Geneseelast_img read more

Roger Goodell: NFL seeks ‘all the facts’ in Robert Kraft case before any action

first_img Robert Kraft requests jury trial, pleads not guilty to soliciting prostitution charges NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said Tuesday night that the league continues to gather information about Robert Kraft’s ongoing soliciting prostitution case while the Patriots owner kept a low profile at this week’s NFL owners meetings in Arizona.Making his first public remarks about the allegations against Kraft, Goodell said he wouldn’t speculate about how the league would handle the situation, no matter how Kraft’s case in South Florida turns out. The commissioner said he — not the owners — would determine any potential punishment: “The personal conduct policy is my responsibility.” “I think we said this several weeks ago, the Personal Conduct Policy applies to everybody — the commissioner’s office, executives, players, coaches,” Goodell told reporters Tuesday night in Phoenix during a news conference to wrap up the meetings (via WEEI.com). “And it will be applied to everybody. It will be done after we get all the facts and we have all the information. We will be fair and smart about it. That is what we’ll do.”Goodell later added: “When we get all the information, we’ll make determinations. I’m not going to speculate on where we are or my views on anything. Until we get all the information, we’re not to make any discussions or any comments about that.” Related News Kraft was at the Phoenix meetings but didn’t talk to reporters. Goodell was seen speaking to the Pats owner but, per Pro Football Talk , the commissioner wouldn’t disclose anything Kraft said to him or the owners, saying the meetings were confidential.NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was seen speaking with New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft. Kraft has pleaded not guilty to charges of paying for sex acts at a Florida spa. Goodell said the NFL will wait for the facts to emerge before addressing Kraft’s case. pic.twitter.com/cO499odx6o— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) March 27, 2019Earlier Tuesday, Kraft requested a jury trial in Palm Beach County, Florida, reaffirming his not-guilty plea in the high-profile case.Even if Kraft is found not guilty in the trial, he could be subject to a fine or suspension according to NFL policy.last_img read more

Uganda tops netball group, to face Fiji in quarters on Thursday

first_img13Northern Ireland4103143254-1112 0Grenada400480268-1880 0Sri Lanka4004141198-570 1New Zealand4400252811718 10Samoa420217216394 0Malaysia300369224-1550 4England4400242751678 9Fiji430110363406 8Trinidad and Tobago420255130-754 5South Africa430119294986 Position in WYNC2013FlagTeam NamePLWDLGFGAGDPTS 7Barbados400397212-1152 Position in WYNC2013FlagTeam NamePLWDLGFGAGDPTS 15Singapore400472259-1870center_img 12Scotland4301150162-126 0Botswana4301212159536 3Jamaica4301159111486 Position in WYNC2013FlagTeam NamePLWDLGFGAGDPTS 2Australia4400297772208 Uganda   44 Jamaica ??  39Quarterfinal fixtures THURSDAYNew Zealand vs  South Africa 11amUganda vs Fiji 1pmScotland vs Australia 3pmJamaica vs England 5pmGabarone, Botswana| THE INDEPENDENT REPORTER | Uganda’s She Pearls lost their final Pool C game in the ongoing Netball World Youth Cup but still qualified top of the group for the quarterfinals that start Thursday.They will take on Fiji for a place in the semifinals at 1pm on Thursday. 15Uganda4301180102786 6Wales4103130147-172 0Cook Islands3003121145-240 0Zimbabwe4202199215-164 Position in WYNC2013FlagTeam NamePLWDLGFGAGDPTS VIDEO Jamaica vs UgandaTweets about @IntNetballShare on: WhatsApplast_img read more

Eng vs WI 3rd Test Day 1 Review: Pope and Buttler help England claim…

first_imgAdvertisement 93pnpe5NBA Finals | Brooklyn VsouWingsuit rodeo📽Sindre Eqow2( IG: @_aubreyfisher @imraino ) cp2Would you ever consider trying this?😱4hctCan your students do this? 🌚7guw9lRoller skating! Powered by Firework A century stand by Ollie Pope and Jos Buttler ensured England have the upper hand ahead of Day 2 in the final test of the series. Advertisement West Indies opted to bowl again after winning the toss and introduced Rakheem Cornwall instead of Alzarri Joseph. On the other hand, England went for a different approach by sacrificing batsman Zak Crawley to bring back Jofra Archer into the playing eleven.Advertisement Kemar Roach struck in the very first over itself by trapping Dom Sibley right in front for a duck. The thin batting order forced skipper Joe Root to move up to No.3. The budding stand for the second wicket was cut short after a direct hit from Roston Chase which sent back Root for just 17.West Indies had another problem mounted upon them as Shannon Gabriel was forced off the field after feeling some discomfort in his calf, but eventually returned to continue his spell. England ended the session on 66/2 with Rory Burns and Ben Stokes in the middle.Advertisement Mr.Incredible’s defence was breached by Kemar Roach whose potency against left-handed batsmen is well known. Ben Stokes was castled for 20, leaving England three down for 92.While the hosts saw the rest of the session, the Windies clawed back into the contest right before the tea break. Rory Burns, who applied himself on the Old Trafford pitch for a well deserved fifty, edged one to Cornwall who superbly held on to it with one hand.With the contest well balanced, the final session was bound to be decisive. Jos Buttler and Ollie Pope prevented the contest from tilting towards the favour of the visitors.The duo stitched together a century stand and took the tally to 136 runs at the end of the day which was cut short due to poor light.Ollie Pope is just 9 shy of his second test ton. The batsman’s glistening knock included 11 fours. Jos Buttler on the other hand managed two sixes in his innings.Brief scoreboard: England 258/4 (Ollie Pope 91*, Jos Buttler 56, Rory Burns 57; Kemar Roach 2-56) vs West Indies.If you like reading about MMA, make sure you check out MMAIndia.com Also, follow India’s biggest arm wrestling tournament at ProPanja.comALSO READ:What could have been: Rakheem Cornwall attracted NFL offers before cricket came to his rescue Advertisementlast_img read more

Yes, You Can Go To The Beach For Free

first_imgBy Liz Sheehan |MONMOUTH BEACH – While beachgoers heading to and from the beach on a recent Sunday all looked the same – laden with chairs, towels and even surfboards – they definitely weren’t. Some had paid to use the beach and others had not.A booth sits at the foot of the ramp across the seawall in the parking lot of the bathing pavilion. Here beachgoers can choose to show a seasonal badge or buy a daily pass and head to the left. Or they can head to the right and use the public beach for free.A seasonal or daily pass includes the use of the bathing pavilion and the lifeguard-protected beach. The free beach is unprotected and has no bathroom facilities, save for one portable toilet located near the entrance ramp.There are four free public beaches in Monmouth Beach and another six in neighboring Sea Bright.After coming down the ramp to leave the free beach, Mark Perl, Oceanport, packed his beach umbrella on the back of his bicycle for his ride home. “I’ll never pay to go on the beach,” he said. His choice of a bicycle was wise as there were no parking spaces anywhere near the beach at midday that Sunday.Although Perl said he would never pay for the beach, he probably already has, through his taxes. Hector Mosely, a public information staff member for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, said Tuesday that, prior to Super Storm Sandy, the federal government provided around 65 percent of the funds for the rebuilding of beaches, with the state and boroughs paying the other 35 percent. After Sandy, the funds for the beach restoration were paid only by the federal government.Mosely said $75 million was spent on beach replenishment in Monmouth Beach and Sea Bright prior to the storm, with $26 million spent since the October 2012 hurricane.Sea Bright Borough Administrator Joseph Verruni said the towns are required to provide some public access beaches because of the beach renovation funds paid by the federal government.Mark Perl of Oceanport spent a day at the free public access beach right next to the paid beach at the Monmouth Beach Bathing Pavilion.Parking can be a problem for all beachgoers in Monmouth Beach. Another bicycle rider, Gay Lowden of Fair Haven, said she drives to Long Branch, leaves her car at a friend’s house there, and rides a bike to Monmouth Beach.The town sells a parking pass for $40 a season that can be used at the bathing pavilion parking lot and another parking lot a short block from the beach between Surf Road and Valentine Street, but parking is not guaranteed. Some of the streets in the town are marked as no parking, and on sunny summer weekends it is a challenge to locate a parking place.Lowden said she usually comes to the beach between 3 and 5 p.m. for a swim but admits that paying for admission to the beach is really expensive. “I am a single mother,” she said.“It’s our ocean,” Lowden said, adding that New Jersey “is the only place you have to pay to get on the beach.”Stefanie Fishbein, Shrewsbury, who was leaving the beach, said she had not been aware that a free beach was next to the one she had paid to use.That public beach has no sign indicating it is free, or that it has public access. Neither do the three other free public access beaches in the town – at Cottage Road, at Central Road, and across from the Monmouth Beach Cultural Center. Instead there are signs placed on some of the platforms on top of the seawall stating the beach is unprotected, but these can be difficult to spot.The borough places traffic cones to mark the pedestrian crossings on Ocean Avenue to three of its free beaches and has a police force member and a traffic light at the crossing that leads to the free beach at the bathing pavilion. At the cultural center there are three portable toilets in the parking lot for the free beachgoers.The public access beaches in Sea Bright are clearly marked as “Public Access” on the front of the steps that cross the seawall to the beach and are easily spotted by those driving by.But parking is also an issue for those going to the public access beaches in Sea Bright. One person who uses the public access beaches there advised that it is best to come early or late in the day to find a parking spot.Starting from the southern end of Sea Bright, the public access beaches in the town are located at 1500 Ocean Ave., across from the Sunrise/Ocean Reef Condominiums; 9 1/2 Tradewinds Lane, inside the Tradewinds complex; across from 640 Ocean Ave.; across from 568 Ocean Ave.; across from 314 Ocean Ave. and Oceanfront Restaurant/Beachwalk; and across from 224 Ocean Ave., Via Ripa.This article was first published in the July 20-27, 2017 print edition of The Two River Times.last_img read more

Embassy builder kickback alleged

first_imgIRAQ: Kuwaiti firm leading Baghdad work is implicated in bribery for military contracts. By Pete Yost THE ASSOCIATED PRESS WASHINGTON – The Kuwaiti company building the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad has been accused of agreeing to pay $200,000 in kickbacks in return for two unrelated Army contracts in Iraq. The scheme, outlined in a now-sealed court document obtained by The Associated Press, allegedly involved First Kuwaiti General Trading & Contracting and a manager for Kellogg Brown & Root Inc., or KBR, a firm hired to handle logistics for the military in Iraq and Afghanistan. The document summarizes grand jury testimony from the former KBR manager, Anthony J. Martin, who pleaded guilty in July to taking kickbacks in 2003. Although the government has tried to keep First Kuwaiti’s name out of public records related to Martin’s case, details from his grand jury testimony were found by a defense lawyer, J. Scott Arthur of Orland Park, Ill., who included a summary in a six-page document filed last Friday in an unrelated federal court case in Rock Island, Ill. The AP downloaded a copy of the document from the court’s Web site shortly before a judge ordered the document sealed and removed from the public record. According to the court document, Martin testified to a federal grand jury that he engaged in the kickback scheme with Lebanese businessman Wadih Al Absi, who controls First Kuwaiti General Trading & Contracting. The company is building the $592 million Baghdad embassy, the largest in the world with working space for about 1,000 people. In a statement, First Kuwaiti said Martin’s allegations are “without merit.” 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more