MAY 2003


compiled by Dee Finney

this page will be updated as news comes in

2-2-03- DREAM - I was working in an office somewhere in the midwest. (not somewhere I've worked before)

I walked up to this huge typewriter that a huge black woman claimed was hers, but there were 2 purchase orders already in it that I needed to put dates on. Because the typewriter case was adjustable, but loose, all I managed to type was '5' for the month.

The black woman came and adjusted the typewriter so it would type better but put a cloth over it so I couldn't see what it typed. Then she got angry when I said I could see what it typed.

This typewriter also had a huge radio as part of it and it was really loud. I managed to turn it from music to news, but couldn't find the knob to turn it off.

I looked at the purchase orders. One was for a Diffuser and the other for a pattern repair.

I was going from there to another company to work as well at a second job. I needed to change clothes to do that and changed from winter to spring clothes. But when I finally got ready I was dressed all in pink, but then I had 3 purses and since the pink one was empty and I had 2 wallets in the brown one and miscellaneous old stuff in the black one and dint' have time to move everything over, I had to leave the pink purse behind.

One of the men was there, he said he had lost a tremendous amount of weight and couldn't wear any of his winter coats, so he just walked out wearing just a silk shirt and gabardine pants.

I was bare-legged and wearing sandals and I felt tremendous joy because I loved my job and the people there so much.

I walked down the stairs and at the bottom of the steps lay a woman, crumpled up on the ground.

I helped her sit up and felt her forehead to see if she had a fever and she didn't but as soon as she sat up, she vomited out water about 10 feet.

I was astonished. She said, "That is nothing - they say that in bad cases, they expectorate like that for 100 feet."

When she said that, I heard a black man, out of the window, made some kind of comment something like, "Why is it always us"!

At the curb a large 18 wheeler truck pulled up. It had to be loaded with items from the company to take it from the midwest to California.

The driver refused to drive the truck to California though. He said, "No farmer will drive trucks to California because all the cattle are quarantined from sickness."

I thought about driving the truck myself just for the fun of it, but I had my own job to get done.

A few days earlier, I also had a dream about a Diffuser which was made by another company.  So, it seems that something has diminished that was planned for earlier. The Diffusers Allis-Chalmers made was item 2 below:

Here is the definition of a diffuser:

Main Entry: dif·fus·er

Date: circa 1679

1 : one that diffuses: as a : a device (as a reflector) for distributing the light of a lamp evenly b : a screen (as of cloth or frosted glass) for softening lighting (as in photography) c : a device (as slats at different angles) for deflecting air from an outlet in various directions

2 : a device for reducing the velocity and increasing the static pressure of a fluid passing through a system


1-27-03 - DREAM - I was living and working in a ground floor building. It was between 8 and 9 a.m. and we weren't open for the public yet and the drapes on the front windows was closed.

My bosses name was Harald (Herald?) and he handed me some papers to type which had an attached list of names who would be working for him. He told me that he would henceforth be known as Executive Master Director.

I looked over some of the other work that had to be done. There was a purchase order there for a diffuser, but it looked like the work was already done. All we had to do was file the papers. Someone else had already done the work. That was good news. One less thing we had to do.

There were also two large envelopes of mail that had been mis-delivered - we just needed to give it back to the postman to re-deliver.

NOTE: On 2-1-03, I found out that the postman never delivered a package that was supposed to be delivered on 1-18-03

I went into the back office where old things were stored. There I found a stack of Hardy Boys Books I hadn't yet read and a few gardening books which I thought were worth keeping for future reference.

Then all I had to do was go to the bathroom and we'd be open for business.

On 2-3-03 - I had a vision of a well groomed park with a stone slab walkway which seemed to be in Europe.  Then I saw a small white-domed star observatory.   I had the feeling that they should be watching for something coming.

That brings to mind a dream I had on 12-23-02 - DREAM - I was in my 16th St. house and was trying to move some skirts on hangars from one spot to another and it was too dark to see easily so I reached over to the light switch to turn on the light. The bulbs immediately blew out.  I was only a few feet from the diningroom light switch but the switch plate was off and I caught my glove on the loose wires.  I got really angry and went back out into the parlor where there was a large elf statue hanging by the stairway. I was so angry, I ripped off its arm and went to hit it on the head with its own arm. It suddenly started to speak like it was alive and I instantly apologized and said I was sorry.

The elf said, "If anything happens, will you protect us?"  He indicated that the problem was coming from the sky in the northeast.

I said, "Of course I would."

He said,  (and I could see this on his teeth while he spoke) "Well! Reuters new path just announced ....." and nothing further came.

End of Dream

I woke up all upset that he didn't finish the message. There was nothing on TV that day either, so I can only assume that the sky event is still coming.  There were two comets that passed but with on problem. But a couple days later, the Columbia shuttle crashed but that came from the west.

I'm still expecting something to come from the sky.

Healing By a Star Visitor And Message For Humanity

by Richard Boylan, Ph.D.

I begin this narration by expressing thanks to Tunkasila (Grandfather Cosmos) and Maka Unce (Earth Grand-Mother) [traditional Native American spirituality understanding of Supreme Source] for the healing described below.

Since November 22, I had been troubled by severe pain down the outside length of my left leg. This pain became so severe that by November 29th, though of stoic nature, I could not take it any further. My physician prescribed first one, then another synthetic narcotic pain-killer. These somewhat muted the pain, but did not eliminate it. The pain wore on for days more.

On last Thursday (Dec. 05), I drove over to Sonoma County, CA on ACCET business to the home of Marian MacNeil, the new Secretary-Treasurer of ACCET, to deliver the Secretarial materials to her. (I am Vice-President of ACCET.) Marian is the Deputy Moderator of UFOFacts e-list. [Her address:] She is also a certified hypnotherapist, psychic and energetic-healer. Ancient Celtic/Wiccan culture would describe her as one of the "Wise Old Women". [Not many of these escaped burning at the stake in late Medieval times.]

Marian is also an experiencer, and has had repeated visits in person and by telepathic communication with the Star Visitor who calls himself Neuman. Neuman is very much a solid flesh-and-blood Star Visitor whose face features a sloped-down rostrum something like a limp dolphin beak or an overgrown bird beak. Otherwise he has rather humanoid features. Though he frequently chooses not to appear on-site visibly but rather to make contact telepathically, he is a 3-D being, as I understand it.

After completing our discussion of business, Marian asked  if I'd like to hear from Neuman. I agreed and the telepathic dialogue began. Some of the dialogue was personal, so I'm only sharing those parts which are of public informational value.

Before long into the dialogue, Neuman directed Marian to pause and immediately prepare for healing work. Marian took me into a different room, where I sat while she placed hands  on my head and neck. Neuman indicated that a healing would begin at once and flow to me through Marian as "conductor". I must say that I could feel the force in real time and the pain stopped at once!

We then adjourned back to the other room, where Neuman resumed his messages and responses to my questions. These I now share with you. Neuman identified his home star system as in the galaxy adjacent to the Milky Way, if you were to view it from the perspective of proceeding from Earth straight out from Galactic center to beyond rim, and then looking to the nearest galaxy on one's right.

Like many other Star Visitors, he reported previous incarnations on other planets, in his case in the Arcturus and Alpha Centauri systems. In response to a question from me, Neuman affirmed that yes, he knew my departed friend Dr. Michael Wolf and Dr. Wolf's frequent Star Visitor companion, "Kolta", a Zeta Reticulan. When I asked Neuman to comment on the predicted upheavals for May, 2003, he responded that the upheavals will be social, physical and political. They represent a choice for humanity: the outcomes are humanity's responsibility.

He characterized the geophysical component of the May upheavals as "Earth entering her 'menstrual cycle'," i.e., sloughing off of old potentials that no longer are life-supporting,  to make way for truly life-supporting resources. Part of the upheavals will involve tectonic plate movements, resulting in earthquakes on a scale that have not existed since humans started doing measurements in this Fourth World cycle. But such epic plate movements have occurred in Earth's past, beyond the historical memory of current humankind.

The current Richter Scale, which only goes up to 10, will be inadequate to describe the magnitude of such plate movements and fissures. These geophysical events will of course include reactivated volcanoes and lava flows. (I commented to Marian that my recent trip to Hawaii Island, where Kilauea Volcano is actively erupting and sending lava flowing, made me reflect on how the villagers there have learned to take lava flows in stride, and move to a new location as flows threaten an existing village. Flexibility and awareness are hallmark attributes of those who will transition into the coming Fifth World.)

Neuman also stated that a large planetoid fragment is on its way in "back towards Earth", (thus suggesting its orbital path brings it close to Earth.)

In its travel, it will dislodge from current position several fragments in the Asteroid Belt. Apparently the large planetoid will not strike Earth but come close. However, one of the sizeable asteroids dislodged will travel to Earth and strike in the South Atlantic Ocean between lower Africa and lower South America. While Neuman did not spell out the consequences  of this asteroid strike, he did comment that it would serve as a "wake-up call" for humankind.

Neuman also said that the Star Visitors will take care of other rogue asteroids set careening by the pass-by of Planetoid "X", so that those on trajectories towards populated locations onEarth do not arrive. When I asked if humans would notice the Star Visitors at work averting threatening asteroids, he replied that "those who look up to the sky will notice," and will note the helpful influence of the Star Visitors.

But not everyone looks up to the sky. He also stated that "the government knows about [the Planetoid], and is not telling the people anything about it." Because of this governmental dereliction of duty to public safety, "the people will eventually stop paying attention to governments," because the governments knew but did nothing to warn the people.

Neuman also foretold that as Earth goes through major upheaval/renewal in May, moving her tectonic plates and rearranging the contours of Earth's surfaces, there will be a reduction in density of everything as we move towards a "fifth density" level. Just as the Earth lightens up and becomes more comfortable after stretching and rearranging herself, so, too, humans will note their bodies and bones becoming more spongy, less dense in this transformation process. The rest of material Earth will also have a less-dense, more porous/spongy quality to its solidity.

I thanked Neuman for these communications, which dovetail well with the four prophecies I have reported earlier, and with various future visions which experiencers have been shown by Star Visitors during encounters.

Richard Boylan, Ph.D.

Richard Boylan, Ph.D., LLC P.O. Box 22310, Sacramento, California 95822, USA

Phone/voice mail/fax : U.S. (916) 422-7400 E-mail address: Website:

Armageddon asteroids 'best kept secret'

15 February 2003

A scientific adviser to the United States government has suggested that secrecy might be the best option if scientists were ever to discover that a giant asteroid was on course to collide with Earth.

In certain circumstances, nothing could be done to avoid such a collision and ensuing destruction, and it would be best not to tell the public anything, said Geoffrey Sommer, of the Rand Corporation in Santa Monica, California.

"When a problem arises with high uncertainty, there is an opportunity to spin the problem to avoid global panic. If you can't do anything about a warning, then there is no point in issuing a warning at all," Dr Sommer told the association yesterday.

"If an extinction-type impact is inevitable, then ignorance for the populace is bliss. As a matter of common sense, if you can't intercept it and you can't move people out of the way in time, there's nothing you can do in terms of reducing the costs of the potential impact," he said.

"Overreaction not just by the public but by policy-makers scurrying around before the thing actually hits because we can't do anything about it anyway ... to a large extent you are better off not adding to your social costs," said Dr Sommer, who is also an adviser on terrorism.

The US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) is conducting a 25-year survey of the sky to find asteroids wider than a kilometre which could have a devastating impact if they collided with Earth.

So far they have determined the orbits of about 60 per cent of these objects and none so far have a trajectory that threatens the world within the next couple of centuries, said David Morrison of Nasa's Ames laboratory in Moffat Field, California.

"There are, however, many things out there that we know nothing about," he said.

SEE:   1950DA.htm   1998ox4.htm   COMETS AND OTHER SKY EVENTS    

Tuesday, 22 January, 2002

Winter vomiting virus

"Winter vomiting" is usually non-fatal, but dramatic

The winter vomiting virus causes unpleasant but non-fatal infections that last only a few days. Even the elderly and frail are likely to make a full recovery after contracting the illness.

The SRSV family of viruses, also referred to as Norwalk or Norwalk-like viruses, produces a gastro-enteritis illness.

It is dubbed the "winter vomiting virus" because it is more likely to develop as an illness during the winter months.

The bug hit the headlines in the UK in January 2002, when there was an outbreak in Scottish hospitals.

Projectile vomiting

The illness typically starts with an attack of vomiting - which can of the severe, projectile variety. A patient can go from feeling fine to severe vomiting in a very short period. Some patients also experience diarrhoea.

It's a very clever virus - it gets around, and it is pretty good at spreading itself

Professor Hugh Pennington

Dr John Cowden, consultant epidemiologist at the Scottish Centre for Infection and Environmental Health in Glasgow, said: "We are not talking about feeling a bit dicky and chucking up in the toilet bowl.

"I am told that people can vomit straight out for about a yard."

There is no recognised treatment for the illness - patients should be given fluids to keep them hydrated and wait for it to pass.

It normally does so in 24-60 hours in the vast majority of patients, although there may be some after-effects such as fatigue.

There were approximately 2,000 cases of SRSV reported to the Public Health Laboratory Service in 1999 - but the total number of infections which go unreported is many times this.

Highly infectious

Many cases are the result of food poisoning - "bad mussels" can be a potent source of SRSV.

It is usually caught either through faecal waste contamination, or by being near someone who is vomiting.

It is estimated that 30m particles - only six to 10 are needed for an infection - may be sent into the air during a vomiting attack, creating the potential for rapid spread.

The virus can lie dormant in the human digestive system for months on end before becoming infectious.

Patients may even become infectious before they get ill, although this is not proven.

They stay infectious for 48 hours after symptoms develop.

Hospital workers are particularly at risk of passing it on as they clear up after infected patients, and guidelines suggest stringent disinfecting procedures in the event of illness.

Professor Hugh Pennington, an expert in disease at Aberdeen University, described SRSV as the "Mike Tyson" of viruses.

"It's a very clever virus. It gets around, and it is pretty good at spreading itself."

Clinical Features of Viral Gastroenteritis and Advice about Decontamination following Sickness.

The main symptom is vomiting. The vomiting is usually of sudden onset and may be projectile resulting in widespread soiling. Diarrhoea tends to be short-lived and less severe than with other causes of gastro-enteritis. Other symptoms include nausea, abdominal cramps, headache, muscle aches, chills and fever. Symptoms generally last between one and three days and recovery is usually rapid thereafter. The severity of the vomiting may be result in dehydration, especially in the elderly and very young.

The cause of the illness

The illness is caused by the “Norwalk like virus” (NLV). The virus was first recognised as the cause of an outbreak of non-bacterial gastro-enteritis in a primary school in the town of Norwalk, Ohio, U.S.A in 1969.. They were termed for many years as small round-structured viruses (SRSVs) but are now officially referred to as Norwalk-like viruses (NLVs).

Where does the virus come from and how is it spread?

The virus is primarily spread from the vomit of a sick person. When sudden projectile vomiting occurs a fine mist of virus particles passes into the air and can readily be spread to others in a wide area. Similar spread can also occur from diarrhoea although the main risk for this will be in toilet areas.

Environmental contamination from both vomit and diarrhoea can occur with subsequent transfer of the virus onto people’s hands. More importantly, any food item can potentially transmit the virus if handled by an infected or contaminated person who is responsible for touching or preparing food.

The virus has also been associated with contaminated shellfish especially raw oysters and similar bivalve molluscs. Raw shellfish including oysters are a well-recognised hazard and is associated with outbreaks of viral gastro-enteritis. All prawns and shellfish should be thoroughly cooked





INTRO: For weeks, European cattle farmers have been battling a new outbreak of so-called "Mad Cow" disease, which decimated British herds years ago. The illness is apparently passed to healthy cattle when they eat feed containing ground up remains of infected animals, a practice that has now been banned in many European countries.

Mysteriously, the illness, which causes progressive neuromuscular weakness and then death in cattle, has in a few cases been passed to humans. In the latest outbreak, several people have died from the human equivalent, called Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. During the 1990s outbreak in Britain, more than 80 people died after eating infected beef.

The U-S press has been watching all of this with some apprehension, and contemplating the difficulties of keeping this illness from American cattle. We get a sampling now in today's U-S Opinion Roundup.

TEXT: European agriculture ministers met this week to discuss the spread of the Mad Cow disease and try to figure out new ways to stop it. They have agreed to stop any part of a cow's spinal column from entering the human food chain. Reports from the Brussels session say that may well mean a ban on such popular cuts of beef as T-bone and rib-eye steaks.

Across the Atlantic The Philadelphia [Pennsylvania] Inquirer views the situation this way:

VOICE: To Americans, mad cow disease may seem like a quirky British bovine disorder that should worry only those who travel across The Pond [Atlantic Ocean]. In fact, as deadly bovine spongiform encephalopathy disease spreads across Western Europe, and as more humans die, it is becoming clear Americans must now regard it as a potential invader threatening U-S shores.

Since surfacing in Britain in 1986, mad cow disease has infected more than 176-thousand cattle. It is now in Ireland, France, Germany, Spain, Portugal and Italy. ... How lucky that America has no known cases of mad cow. It can't go on relying on luck.

TEXT: In the Midwest, the heart of the United States' cattle and agricultural belt, the concern is even greater, as this editorial in the Saint Louis [Missouri] Post-Dispatch notes:

VOICE: ... on our ever-shrinking planet, the idea of mad cow disease in the United States isn't as far-fetched as some might like to believe. There already have been clusters of Crutzfeld-Jakob disease associated with eating meat. As a result, federal officials in 1996 warned against eating certain kinds of squirrel meat. Right now, a similar infection threat exists in northern Colorado and Southern Wyoming, where nearly one-in-five wild deer and elk have a related illness called chronic wasting disease. Since symptoms can take 10 or 15 years to appear, some hunters already may have become infected.

... Most experts say the odds of Americans eating tainted beef are very low. But what were the odds that in the year two-thousand, New Yorkers would get sick from West Nile virus?

TEXT: Turning to the Midwestern newspaper, the Chicago Tribune, there is more concern because the paper says existing U-S regulations are apparently not being followed.

VOICE: Mad-cow disease is real and has Europe in fits. Now it's becoming clear the F-D-A has been lax in protecting consumers from the spread of the disease to this side of the Atlantic. The F-D-A passed rules in 1997 that banned cattle feed made from rendered animals, but these rules have been ineffectively enforced. It is precisely this kind of feed that allowed the spread of mad-cow disease bovine spongiform encephalopathy and its human variant, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease throughout Europe. ... There hasn't been a single human or cattle death here linked to it. But the F-D-A and other federal agencies must make sure that tainted products from Europe are kept out, must increase inspections of infected animals here and adopt steps like the recent donor bans prevent contamination of human blood and tissues.

TEXT: Taking a much more optimistic outlook is The Chattanooga Times and Free Press, a jointly published daily in Tennessee, which ran this column recently.

VOICE: So far, the United States has been blessedly free of mad cow disease. That's no accident. Regulatory agencies and the beef industry in the United States have taken active roles in creating and enforcing policies to safeguard the nation's food supply. As a result, there is no mad cow crisis in the United States. The rules and regulations in place seem adequate to the task of protecting the public for now. But continued vigilance and adherence to strict standards are all that stand between the American public and the calamitous arrival of an insidious disease on our shores.

TEXT: And lastly, from Rhode Island's capital, The Providence Journal exclaims:

VOICE: When mad-cow disease was first discovered in Britain, justifiable widespread panic led to a massive slaughter in hopes that the disease would be contained. As mad-cow disease made its way across Europe, it was obvious that eliminating the British herd did not stop the spread. The fact is that the disease has spread all over Europe. That stark lesson cannot be ignored in this country. We suspect that more and more Americans will be approaching their hamburgers with trepidation. Not surprisingly, McDonald's Corporation reported ...[recently] that its profits fell for the first time in years. It blamed Europe's mad-cow scare for the decline.

TEXT: With that comment from The Providence, Rhode Island, Journal, we conclude this sampling of U-S press reaction to the current spread of mad cow disease across Europe.

July 19, 2002

New technologies to battle little known, widespread cattle disease

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Purdue University scientists are using their breakthrough molecular research and other new technologies to slash diagnosis time in a battle against Johne's disease, a little known, usually fatal infection that causes $1 billion in U.S. cattle industry losses annually.

The worldwide, chronic illness – also known as paratuberculosis – is characterized by weight loss without loss of appetite, diarrhea, and finally wasting and death. The disease can attack all ruminants – animals with three- or four-chambered stomachs that chew their cud. Scientists say the malady is closely related to the human Crohn's disease and affects nearly a quarter of the nation's dairy herds.

"It used to take us 12 to 16 weeks to get a final diagnosis. Now we can detect the organism as early as two weeks," said Ching Ching Wu, a microbiologist with Purdue and the Indiana Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory. "Having the molecular techniques and this fast, large-capacity system, we will be able to handle a lot of samples in a shorter time frame. This combined technology can identify clean herds and maintain their disease-free status by preventing the introduction of infected animals."

Molecular techniques that Wu and her colleagues developed make the fast, accurate diagnosis feasible. By coupling her technology with a new, automated incubation unit, the laboratory can identify highly infected animals in two to three weeks and those with low levels of infection in 42 days, far quicker than the traditional time needed for final diagnosis.

The manufacturer, Trek Diagnostics Systems Inc., earlier this year commercially introduced the new machine, ESP para-JEM system, which detects growth of Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis (Mpt), the bacteria that causes Johne's disease.

"Information about existing infection will help farmers separate herds so infected animals can't cross-contaminate the rest of the herd. The goal is to create Johne's-free herds," said Wu, whose molecular research is aimed at determining how paratuberculosis wreaks its destruction in animals, and developing treatments or cures for Johne's disease. "Being able to test more samples allows us to know the extent of the illness' spread and to learn more about its workings."

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, about 22 percent of the nation's dairy herds – and about 24 percent of those in the Midwest, including Indiana – are infected with the intestinal illness. To make matters worse, the agency says at least 45 percent of U.S. dairy producers don't know about the disease.

It is voluntary to have animals tested for Johne's, although some states now prohibit transport of infected animals and/or require that they be branded to show Johne's infection. No scientific evidence exists that consumption of meat or milk from infected animals can cause the malady in people.

Educating producers about Johne's disease and its control is a priority of the Indiana State Board of Animal Health, said Thomas Conner, director of the board's Cattle and Ruminant Division. For many years, the agency has required reporting of the disease and has handled recording testing results and maintained herd records.

Although a vaccine exists that will reduce the symptoms and prolong an animal's life, it does not prevent infection, Conner said. The vaccine is only available for cattle under a special agreement between the state veterinarian, the producer and the producer's local veterinarian.

Management strategy based on the number of infected animals is the best way to prevent, control and eliminate Johne's disease while minimizing the economic impact, he said.

"Diagnosis is one of the biggest problems," Conner said. "The findings of Dr. Wu and her group will help to advance Johne's disease control in dairy and beef herds alike."

Wu and her team of researchers do much of the Johne's testing for Indiana in the Animal

Disease Diagnostic Laboratory on the Purdue campus. Their main focus however, is studying the disease process, especially the mechanisms involved with the bacteria. They have published several papers on their findings, the most recent in the May 2002 issue of the journal Infection and Immunity, an American Society of Microbiology publication.

"We have identified a bacterial protein, fibronectin attachment protein (FAP), on Mpt that apparently facilitates the ability of the bacteria to attach itself to the intestine and invade animals' disease-fighting cells," Wu said.

This finding is important information for discovering how and why the bacteria are able to infiltrate animals' intestines, attach themselves to the walls, and proliferate inside disease fighting cells, called macrophages, she said. The knowledge could lead to new drugs or vaccines to treat and prevent Johne's disease and possibly even related diseases, such as Crohn's.

Johne's disease can be spread to animals from infected feed, water and colostrums, and females with high infection can spread it in utero to fetuses. Most animals are infected at less than six months of age, although symptoms don't appear for two years to five years.

Besides dairy cattle, other types of cattle, deer, elk, sheep, goats, antelope and bison also can fall victim. However, it is more prevalent in animals that are kept in confined conditions and relatively unusual in wildlife, Conner said.

According to the USDA, some reports exist of the same bacteria infecting horses, pigs, chickens, rabbits, fox and non-human primates. Scientists are unsure of the exact relationship between Johne's and Crohn's.


Illness puts deer in jeopardy

March 17, 2002 The Plain Dealer by D'Arcy Egan

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) has been detected in three Wisconsin deer killed by hunters last November, sending shock waves through wildlife management communities from Texas to Ohio.

It was the first time CWD has been discovered east of the Mississippi River. The disease "could spread like wildfire in states such as Ohio that have a high deer density," said Mike Reynolds, a wildlife research biologist with Ohio Division of Wildlife at the Waterloo Wildlife Research Station in New Marshfield, Ohio.

Initially discovered in captive herds in Colorado in the 1960s, CWD was documented in wild mule deer, white-tailed deer and elk in the 1980s. The disease moves quickly through captive herds, but has slowly spread in free-ranging deer and elk herds. That could change if CWD takes hold in the Midwest and the eastern United States. While deer and elk density in Colorado, Nebraska, Wyoming and South Dakota where CWD has been found is low, an average of about two animals per square mile, that density jumps to 20 to 30 deer per square mile in Ohio and Midwest states. In some urban areas around Cleveland, Chicago and major cities the deer density jumps as high as 90 animals per square mile.

"It's a whole different world with [CWD] east of the Mississippi with our high-density deer herds," John Buhnerkempe told the Chicago Sun-Times. Buhnerkempe is acting chief of Wildlife Resources for Illinois.

The Wisconsin deer infected with CWD were harvested near Mount Horeb, about 40 miles north of the Illinois border. Federal and state officers and landowners in the Mount Horeb area will shoot 500 white-tailed deer so they can be tested by Wisconsin officials for the deadly brain disease.

"The only way to test for CWD is to sample the brain stem," Reynolds said. "You can't test live deer for the disease."

First discovered in deer and elk in the northwest corner of Colorado, CWD is a relative of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or mad cow disease. While similar to a disease of humans called Creutzfeld-Jacobs Disease (CJD), there is no evidence CWD can be transmitted to humans. [There is evidence that CWD prions can infect human brain tissue--BSE coordinator]

Wisconsin officials say there is no threat to cattle or sheep. The World Health Organization has monitored the CWD-infected area in Colorado and reports no scientific evidence that CWD is contagious to humans or cattle.

"We are just at the front end of evaluating the scope of the problem," said Julia Langenberg, a Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources veterinarian and administrator of the deer testing program.

The incidence of CWD is highest in captive herds of deer and elk. There are many deer and elk farms in Ohio, which raise the animals for human consumption. While the Ohio Division of Wildlife issues permits to allow deer and elk ranchers in Ohio to possess the animals the Ohio Department of Agriculture would have to issue guidelines for testing them for CWD and other diseases.

"We'll be working with the Ohio Department of Agriculture and may be seeking a ban on the importation of deer and elk to Ohio," Reynolds said. "We're most concerned about the captive deer and elk in Ohio."

The only testing that Ohio wildlife officials have done in recent years is for bovine tuberculosis.

"When tuberculosis was discovered in [free-ranging] deer in Michigan in the mid-1990s, we tested several hundred deer from northwestern Ohio for tuberculosis and other diseases," Reynolds said. "It is likely that we will begin a monitoring program starting with road-killed deer and deer harvested by hunters."

Michigan has already banned the importation of elk and deer from Wisconsin to protect both captive and wild deer and elk. There are more than 900 deer and elk operations in Michigan. The Michigan Department of Agriculture will also identify and trace all cervids, or deer and elk, which have been imported from Wisconsin over the past three years.

It is the first time Michigan has banned deer and elk imports from an entire state. Of 450 deer tested for CWD in Michigan, all have proven negative.

The spread of CWD became a high priority for Minnesota wildlife officials several months ago. Officials there plan to test wild deer killed by hunters next fall and is formulating a contingency plan if there is an outbreak of CWD.

This disease literally eats away at the brain of an infected animal and prevents the animal from converting food and body fat to energy. Animals become listless and begin to waste away. The disease is always fatal.

Contact D'Arcy Egan at:, 216-999-6136

Milk Sickness

What is "milk sickness"?

This is an illness suffered by people who drink milk from cows that have grazed on a plant known as white snakeroot.

How serious is this disease?

Milk sickness was a frequent cause of illness and death in the Midwest and rural South during the nineteenth century, sometimes killing as many as half the people in a particular settlement. There are estimates that 10 to 25 percent of those afflicted died. Nancy Hanks Lincoln, Abraham Lincoln's mother, died from milk sickness in Indiana.

What causes the sickness?

A plant known as white snakeroot (Eupatorium rugosum ) contains the toxin tremetol, but the plant's content of this toxin may vary with locality. White snakeroot grows abundantly in Minnesota and in other states in the Midwest. It is not usually found in pastures but grows well in or near woods. In human beings, this toxin causes physical inertia and thus was named the "slows".

Does this plant have any effect on livestock?

Yes, in cattle and horses the disease is called "trembles" because of the trembling in afflicted animals, and these animals can die from grazing on this plant. Even sheep and hogs are poisoned by white snakeroot.

Why do cattle graze on white snakeroot?

Cattle will not graze on this plant unless other forage is not available; however, when pastures are scarce or in times of drought, cattle will graze in woods because of the abundance of green plants.

Is this still a problem?

Yes and no. If cows graze on this plant they will become sick and the milk will still be toxic to people. In the past, however, farmers and rural people drank milk from local herds. Today, milk is collected from many farms and bulked so that any toxin present is diluted below the toxic concentration. Incidents occur only when people drink milk from their own cows that have grazed on snakeroot plants. A good review of this problem is found in the journal Economic Botany (19: 293-300, 1965).

What does the plant look like?

It is a perennial plant in the aster family (Eupatorium rugosum ), less than 3 feet tall, with small white flowers in an umbrella-like cluster that bloom in late summer and early fall. It has simple leaves opposite each other on the stem, and the leaf margins are saw-toothed. It spreads by seeds (about an eighth-inch long) and by underground stems.

US food safety efforts struggle amid death, illness

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (Reuters) - For Elsa Murano, a leader in the fight over US food safety, the news has not been good lately.

With at least 20 deaths and 120 illnesses in eight Northeastern US states connected this week to food poisoning, and investigators probing a separate contamination problem that sickened dozens of people in the Midwest, the system the Murano is charged with strengthening appears very much broken.

"That is awful, absolutely terrible," said Murano, under secretary for food safety for the US Department of Agriculture. "I can't tell you how urgently I feel we need to do something about this."

Food safety is a significant problem in the US, with thousands of people made ill every year from what they eat. The severity of the sicknesses ranges from stomach cramps to death and often times the culprit is as innocuous as the lettuce leaves from a local salad bar or the medium-rare burger from a backyard barbecue.

All told, an estimated 5,000 people die from food-borne illnesses each year and an estimated 76 million become ill in the United States. From 1990 to 2002, more than 90,300 different food-borne illnesses were reported, according to a report issued last month by the Center for the Science in the Public Interest.

Salads, pizza and sandwiches were linked to 11,500 cases of food poisoning. Overall, the most common bearers of bad bacteria are produce, poultry, eggs, beef and seafood.

"Food safety problems are falling through the cracks," said Caroline Smith DeWaal, director of CSPI's food safety program and an active lobbyist on Capitol Hill. "There is a huge amount of work to do."


Common livestock production practices, in which large numbers of animals are confined in closely crowded quarters, contribute to the problem as animals spend a good portion of their lives standing or laying in manure, which incubates a variety of dangerous pathogens.

The manure can also contaminate area water sources used to irrigate crops.

Slaughterhouses where thousands of animals are killed with stun guns, bled and processed, provide a further breeding ground for problem pathogens as speedy assembly lines and mixing of meat from many different animals make it difficult to contain any problems and help spread bacteria.

At virtually every stage of processing, until the food is eaten by the consumer, a product can become contaminated. Consumers themselves sometimes contaminate the food they eat, using improper handling and cooking techniques.

For years, agricultural interests have been seeking a solution to the pathogen problem. At the slaughterhouse, workers wash carcasses with steam vacuums and hot water showers. In some cases, irradiation is used to zap meat with invisible rays meant to kill bacteria, obviously spoiled meat is discarded and random sampling and testing is conducted to try to identify any contamination by microscopic pathogens.

Over the last 10 years, vacuum packaging technologies, refrigeration improvements, and other practices have improved food safety to an extent. Since 1996, a 23% overall drop in bacterial food borne illnesses has been recorded by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

There have also been efforts to educate consumers about proper food handling procedures.

Still, with millions continuing to get sick, figuring out how to further reduce food poisoning incidents adds up to a significant challenge for those trying to keep food safe.

"The industry is working terribly hard in research and in practice to try to get food to the market as safely as we possibly can," said Rosemary Mucklow, executive director of the National Meat Association.


The US food safety system traces its regulatory history to 1906 when the government passed regulations providing for government inspections of plants where cattle, hogs and chickens were slaughtered and processed. Inspectors at that time relied primarily on visual inspections. Today, they test for a variety of bacteria but many plants have been allowed to test themselves and are exempt from federal testing.

Industry experts point out that testing is not an assurance of safety because tests of a box of beef, for example, could find the sampled portion clean, despite a deadly pathogen lurking next to the sampled section.

Consumer groups have lobbied for additional measures aimed at both preventing contamination of food and identifying problems when they have already occurred. They have called for a central food safety agency instead of the 10 different federal agencies currently holding oversight of food safety, most notably the USDA and the Food and Drug Administration.

The USDA continues to search for ways to control outbreaks of food-borne illnesses. Under the guidance of Murano, the Food Safety and Inspection Service last month issued new policies aimed at combating E. coli O157:H7, which can cause bloody diarrhea and vomiting and lead to kidney failure and death.

Slaughter and grinding plants will have to adhere to more stringent testing and increased process controls. One hundred scientifically trained consumer safety officers are randomly visiting meat plants around the country and their ranks will increase next year. And plants will no longer be exempted from government testing and allowed to test themselves.

"We've seen a dramatic decrease in food-borne pathogens, but obviously we haven't wiped out all these illnesses," said Murano, who has been in the job one year. "There are still cases that take place."


A series of food scares have occurred recently, including one of the largest meat recalls in history, when ConAgra Foods Inc. recalled 19 million pounds of ground beef this summer because of an E coli outbreak.

More recently, on Oct. 3, US health and food officials blamed a food-borne listeria outbreak for at least 20 deaths and 120 illnesses in eight Northeastern US states.

The day before, Cargill Inc. said the USDA closed its ground beef plant in Wisconsin because of an outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 that sickened at least 57 people in seven states.

And Friday, Northeast regional grocery chain Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. said it was recalling fresh ground beef products sold through its stores in August and September because of possible contamination with the E. coli bacteria.

"I do not want to sit here and see any more of these recalls or these outbreaks," said Murano. "I'm declaring war."

Copyright 2002 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved


Posted 5/20/2003

U.S. bans Canadian beef imports because of mad cow

OTTAWA (Reuters) — The United States has temporarily banned imports of cattle, beef, beef-based products and animal feed from Canada after Ottawa reported a case of mad cow disease Tuesday, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman said.

Veneman said the United States would not accept any "ruminant products" from Canada until further notice.

Canadian officials said they found a case of mad cow disease in the western province of Alberta but stressed that the affected animal — the first mad cow case in a decade in Canada — had not entered the food chain.

Agriculture Minister Lyle Vanclief said the northern Alberta herd of 150 to which the eight-year-old animal belonged had been quarantined and will be destroyed.

"The affected herd will be depopulated once the necessary samples have been obtained... Any additional herds that are found to be at risk as a result of the investigation will also be depopulated," he told a nationally televised news conference in the Albertan city of Edmonton.

Officials will also trace the origin of the cow and how and where it was processed as part of an investigation into any possible spread of the disease, Vanclief said

"The investigation to date indicates the animal in question was sent to a rendering plant after slaughter. I want to stress that the animal did not go into the food chain," he said.

The cow in question was slaughtered Jan. 31 because of suspected pneumonia, but routine testing failed to rule out mad cow, scientifically called bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE. Further testing in England confirmed the finding Tuesday, Vanclief said.

Vanclief and Alberta Agriculture Minister Shirley McClellan stressed that the disease could not be transferred from animal to animal and said there was no reason to stop eating beef.

It was the first case of mad cow disease in Canada since a cow that had been imported from Britain was diagnosed with the disease in December 1993. The technical name for Mad Cow is bovine spongiform encephalopathy or BSE.

Alberta accounts for nearly 60% of Canada's beef production. There are 5.5 million head of cattle in the western province.

Beef cattle production is Alberta's largest agricultural sector, providing C$3.8 billion ($2.8 million) in annual farm cash receipts, Alberta Agriculture data shows.

Some 511,656 head of live cattle were shipped from Alberta to the U.S. in 2002, Alberta Agriculture said.

No case of mad cow disease has ever been found in U.S. cattle, despite intensive testing for the disease. To help prevent its spread here, the U.S. government routinely bans the import of meat and livestock from countries where mad cow disease is found.

The FDA and U.S. Agriculture Department are working with Canadian officials to get more information about the sick cow, including records concerning its past ownership and what animal feed it was given.

Mad cow disease erupted in Britain in 1986, and is thought to have spread through cow feed made with protein and bone meal from mammals. The FDA outlawed the feeding of mammalian meat and bone meal to cattle, sheep and goats in 1997, a rule considered the nation's main defense against mad cow disease.

Contributing: Associated Press



Questions and Answers About West Nile Virus -

West Nile Virus Website

Pennsylvania's West Nile Control Program. In 2000, West Nile virus appeared for the first time in Pennsylvania in birds, mosquitoes and a horse. ...

West Nile Virus

This section of National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII) provides data, information, and maps related to outbreaks of the West Nile virus...

West Nile-like Virus

West Nile Virus, US Geological Survey's Links Related to West Nile Virus: ... Outbreak of West Nile-like Viral Encephalitis - New York, 1999 (October 1, 1999). ...

ERAP: What's Going on with the West Nile Virus - Cornell ...

What's Going on with the WEST NILE VIRUS ... West Nile Virus Infection in the USA. 2002. WILDPro. Wildlife Information Network. ...

West Nile Virus Surveillance Information - Bureau of Infectious Disease

West Nile (WN) virus was first isolated in 1937 from the blood of a patient in the province of West Nile, Uganda. ...Information about the disease and the efforts in Canada to detect it.

West Nile Virus Maps

Maps Showing West Nile Virus Distribution 2000 - The National Atlas of the  United States of America. National Atlas Logo.

NPIC's West Nile Virus Homepage

Download and distribute NPIC's West Nile Virus & Mosquito Control Products Flyer! West Nile Virus Resource Guide Homepage.

West Nile vaccine demand high among horse owners

By Jennifer Bremer

Iowa Farmer Today

Ottumwa veterinarian Tom Lopp gives a horse the first of two shots to protect it against the West Nile virus.

OTTUMWA — Veterinarians report a huge demand for West Nile vaccine as Iowa horse owners rush to protect their animals from the disease.

‘‘We’ve sold more than 2,500 doses of West Nile virus vaccine in the past few months,’’ says Ottumwa vet Tom Lopp.

The virus is naturally transmitted between birds and mosquitoes. People and horses can acquire an infection if bitten by infected mosquitoes. No human exposure has been reported in Iowa. Health officials are not sure if other animals can get the virus.

Lopp says the only protection from the virus is to vaccinate.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has ap-proved the first national trial of a drug to treat West Nile virus in humans, which has infected more than 250 people in 12 states.

The FDA cleared the way Monday for a doctor at New York Hospital to see if interferon can lessen the symptoms and duration of the illness in infected patients.

Lopp said, ‘‘Since it is such a new virus there is no immunity to it and while some horses may get the virus, they might not get sick but most will.’’

West Nile first appeared in Iowa about a year ago, and as of Tuesday there were confirmed cases in 71 of the state’s 99 counties.

As of Tuesday, 35 horses were diagnosed with the virus. Eleven horses have been euthanized, said Machelle Shaffer, spokeswoman for the Iowa Department of Ag-riculture.

Horses testing positive for West Nile have been reported in Jasper, Sioux, Adair, Lee, Van Buren, Palo Alto, Sac, Sioux, O’Brien, Lyon, Johnson, Boone, Cedar, Chickasaw, Dickinson, Harrison, Mahaska, Plymouth, Winnebago and Wood-bury counties.

Six counties added to the list as of Tuesday had either a dead bird or an infected horse. They are Boone, Clay, Crawford, Lucas, Monona and Wayne.

‘‘West Nile virus is not a contagious disease and is not passed from horse to horse or horse to human so there is no need for a quarantine,’’ state veterinarian John Schiltz explains.

A report by the Iowa Depart-ment of Public Health says there is no evidence to suggest handling of birds or other infected animals transmits the virus.

Horses with the virus will have an altered mental status. They will be unsteady on their feet and may have tremors. Some will fall and won’t be able to get back up. Swelling of the brain is the main cause of these symptoms.

Lopp says the virus has many of the same symptoms as Eastern and Western equine encephalitis, which have been around for many years.

West Nile was first detected in the United States in 1999 and was identified during an outbreak in New York City. The virus has gradually moved west. It was detected in Eastern Iowa this past September in a crow.

The incubation period is 5 to 15 days after the mosquito bite.

A person infected with the virus most likely won’t show signs or symptoms, according to the report. Symptoms most likely would be mild cases, including fever, headache, body aches, lethargy and occasionally a skin rash on the chest, back and arms.

A blood test is done on suspect animals, which may take several days to confirm.

Lopp says there is no specific therapy for treating West Nile, but horses would be treated with antibiotics. Some horses might recover in days or weeks, but many will die. ‘‘We have not seen any horses with WNV (West Nile) yet in our practice, but we believe it’s only a matter of time,’’ he says.

Of the estimated 100,000 horses in Iowa, about half have been vaccinated. The vaccine must be given in two doses, with the second dose three to six weeks after the first. Foals as young as 3 months should be vaccinated. The vaccine costs $14.50 to $25 per dose.

Some areas of the state have had problems with availability of the vaccine. Earlier in the year, vets had to wait two to three weeks.

‘‘That’s why people should stay on top of viruses such as this, so they can get their animals vaccinated and have them protected in case there is a shortage of vaccine,’’ Lopp adds.



John Kirk, DVM, MPVM1 and Heidi Hamlen, DVM, MS, DACVPM2

1Veterinary Medicine Extension, School of Veterinary Medicine

University of California Davis, Tulare, CA

2California Department of Food and Agriculture, Animal Health Branch

Disease Program, Sacramento

Anthrax is as old as antiquity. The Bible speaks of "the plague, which caused sudden death in livestock". The Animal Health Branch—Emergency Disease Programs has historical records dating from 1926 showing 34 anthrax outbreaks in 12 counties of California. During 1984, an anthrax outbreak occurred in the Carrisa Plains that affected 12 general areas, and killed 43 cattle and 135 sheep. Since 1991, there have only been 10 known cases of anthrax in California livestock, nine of which occurred in cattle.

Anthrax has recently been the topic of several news articles addressing concerns about vaccinating soldiers in the US military, bioterrorism threats and naturally occurring disease outbreaks in cattle. For instance, following sudden cattle deaths, anthrax has been diagnosed on five farms in Manitoba with about 25 deaths, on two farms in Minnesota with about 15 deaths and in 17 North Dakota herds with approximately 100 deaths. Other deaths have been recently reported in South Dakota and Nebraska. While deaths from anthrax occur sporadically ever year, these outbreaks in the Midwest are somewhat unusual. The purpose of this article will be review anthrax primarily as it occurs cattle so that livestock owners may be aware of the signs and risk factors of anthrax in cattle.

The bacteria, Bacillus anthracis, cause anthrax. The bacteria are found in two states — the vegetative state and the spore state. The vegetative state is the growing, reproducing form of the bacteria found in infected animals and people. The vegetative form is the state that causes the disease, anthrax. If untreated the disease in animals is generally fatal. After an animal dies from anthrax, if the carcass is opened by a veterinarian during a necropsy, scavengers or by decay, the vegetative state is exposed to oxygen in the air. When the vegetative state is exposed to oxygen in the air, it forms spores. The spores are highly resistant to disinfectants and remain viable for years in the soil. The spores are found naturally in the soil of California and many western states. When the spores enter another animal, usually through grazing contaminated vegetation or inhaling spores, the bacteria revert to the disease causing vegetative form.

In cattle, the most initial sign of anthrax is animals found suddenly dead. The course of the disease is usually short at 1-3 days. Once an outbreak begins, animals may be seen with fever, lack of rumination, excitement followed by depression, difficulty breathing, uncoordinated movements, convulsions and death. Bloody discharges from the natural body openings as well as edema in different parts of the body are sometimes observed. Some animals may be saved if treated very early with penicillin or tetracyclines.

In animals that die, bloody discharges from the body openings are commonly found. Decomposition is more rapid than in other conditions and the carcasses become bloated with gases. Rigor mortis or stiffening is not complete. When necropsied, hemorrhages are found in the internal organs. Enlargement of the spleen is almost always present. An open, decaying carcass as well as discharges and secretions from the carcass or dying animals will contaminate the ground and protected spores will develop. Scavengers or well-meaning veterinarians seeking to the learn the cause of death may also open the carcass. Carrion-feeding animals may carry the infection to other distant locations. The vegetative form of the bacteria dies rapidly in unopened carcasses.

Most outbreaks occur in areas where animals have previous died of anthrax, as the spores remain viable for many years. Spores over 35 years old have been able to cause the disease. Often, the outbreaks occur after climatic changes such as heavy rain, flooding, or drought. Climatic changes bring spores to the ground surface and perhaps concentrates the spores in low spots. Working the land may also bring the spores up to the soil surface. Once the animals eat the spores, the vegetative develops, multiplies and is ready to cause anthrax again. In August 2000, an anthrax outbreak in Nevada killed 30 cattle. This outbreak was associated with a recent ditch cleaning, which may have disturbed spores deep in the soil.

When anthrax is suspect, dead animals should not be opened for routine examination, as the discharges and blood are highly infectious to humans and other animals. As previous state, open carcasses will deposit enormous quantities of bacteria on the ground that will sporulate to the long lasting, protected state. Your veterinarian can confirm anthrax by taking blood from a peripheral vein (ear or tail) and submitting it to the diagnostic laboratory. The bacteria can be seen in the blood when properly smeared and stained on a glass slide.

In many states, anthrax is a reportable disease meaning that your veterinarian will have to inform the state agency when cases of anthrax are suspected. Quarantine of the premises and animals may be necessary. To prevent spread of an outbreak, where possible, dead animals should be burned where they are found dead. An alternative is to bury them at a depth of 10 feet and cover the carcass with lime. The 1984 Carrisa Plains outbreak was associated with movement of an infected band of sheep and dumping the carcasses from this band in several locations. Your state animal health agency can provide helpful advise on disposal of carcasses. Proper carcass disposal is important to prevent surface soil contamination. Vaccines are available to protect animals in endemic areas or when outbreaks occur.

Always keep in mind that anthrax can cause serious disease in humans as well as animals. Three syndromes are recognized in man. The cutaneous form is usually seen in people who work with animal carcasses, wool, hides or fur. The infections are seen as large, local abscesses often on the hand or finger. These skin infections can spread to the blood stream and cause serious illness or death. Inhaling the bacteria causes the pulmonary form. Most lung infections result in rapid death. The intestinal form results from eating the bacteria and is seen as violent intestinal pain with vomiting and bloody stools. A high mortality rate is seen with the intestinal form of anthrax. For this reason, great care should be taken to protect anyone handling the carcass or live animals suspected to have anthrax. Meat obtained from animals dying of unknown causes, or suspected of having anthrax or another infectious disease, should not be consumed.

In summary, anthrax is cause by bacteria that can exist in two forms. The vegetative form causes disease in both animals and man but is rapidly killed in unopened carcasses. The spore form lives for years in the soil. When the spores surface, they revert to the vegetative form to cause further disease when eaten by animals. Carcasses of animal dying with anthrax should not be opened as the vegetative form turns to spores when exposed to air. Suspected cases of anthrax should be reported to your veterinarian first and then to state animal health agencies. Animal health officials are available 24 hours a day to assist your veterinarian in managing an outbreak and minimizing losses. Use caution when handling dead animals suspected to have anthrax. For more information, call the CDFA, Animal Branch in your area.


Portsmouth, NH Friday, April 6, 2001


Port. Herald

Disease has U.S. worried

By Jay Hughes, Associated Press

Fear of foot-and-mouth disease has friendly Midwestern farmers pulling up their welcome mats. Zoos and theme parks around the country are posting warning signs. Some universities are canceling overseas exchange programs and even quarantining foreign students.

Around the nation, Americans are closely examining their own cows, hogs — even giraffes — while also watching for anybody or anything that could carry into the United States the highly contagious disease ravaging Britain's livestock.

And just in case foot-and-mouth strikes this country for the first time in more than 70 years, officials are drawing up worst-case scenarios, from destroying entire herds of cattle to mobilizing the National Guard.

"I wake up nights thinking about it," said Gene Eskew, a veterinarian for the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture. "This particular virus is the most contagious in the world."

Foot-and-mouth is dreaded because it can be transmitted so easily — by dirt on vehicle tires, clothes, shoes, even in the air.

The virus is harmless to humans but destroys animals hooves and causes mouth blisters that ruin their appetite. The United States has not had a confirmed case since 1929.

In Britain, more than a million animals have been condemned to slaughter in an attempt to contain the outbreak, and restrictions have been imposed on tourism events and the movement of animals.

The United States has already banned imports of livestock and raw meat from Europe. Now, many of the precautions are aimed at international travelers.

Zoos from New York City to Chicago are posting signs asking visitors who have been overseas recently to avoid petting zoos or other areas where they can come in close contact with animals. At the Busch Gardens theme park in Tampa, Fla., visitors step into a disinfectant shoe bath before boarding buses for tours where they can feed giraffes and get close to other exotic animals.

Many farm states are canceling agricultural tours that bring in visitors from out of town or overseas.

In Illinois' Rock River Valley, farmers are redirecting foreign tours to livestock-free attractions such as the John Deere home. Agriculture officials in Wisconsin advised farmers to stop the tradition of inviting visitors to tour the farm and have breakfast in celebration of dairy month. Officials suggested gatherings instead be held in town this June.

Phil Klink, who had 4,000 people on his farm for last year's breakfast, said that this year the fun just isn't worth the risk to his 140-cow herd. "We were looking forward to having it, but it's better to cancel it now," Klink said Thursday.

Leading agriculture universities across the Midwest are isolating students who have been abroad until the risk of contamination is over and restricting access to school farms.

Seventeen foreign students who came to the University of Minnesota began their training on farms this week after cooling their heels for eight days at a suburban St. Paul hotel.

"We had the students wash their clothes so there would be no fear of that. The host farmers were going to purchase new work shoes for them. We asked them to blow their noses quite often. Evidently the virus can reside in the respiratory system," said Steve Jones, director of the Minnesota Agricultural Student Trainee program. "By the end they were a little bored, but they understood the potential threat."

At Illinois State University, officials posted a big sign outside the university farm in Normal that reads: "STOP. Bio-Security Area. If you or an immediate family member have been out of the United States in the past 14 days, do not pass this point."

From the nation's farms to meatpacking plants, livestock handlers are double-checking to make sure the animals they deal with are disease-free.

In Kentucky, officials are inspecting cattle trucks along the interstates, checking papers for the animals' origins or any signs of foot-and-mouth. At an auction barn in Galesburg, Ill., this week, employee Rick Grappe dodged the tossing heads and flying hooves of cattle to study each animal before its sale, looking for telltale blisters on their noses.

"I don't want to see them. It would scare me and scare the whole country," Grappe said.

State officials are working with U.S. agriculture officials and law enforcement personnel to plan for any outbreak. In most cases, the state veterinarian would quarantine the affected farm and consider stopping the movement of animals within the state's borders. The herd would almost certainly be destroyed, and people, equipment and vehicles would have to be disinfected before being allowed out of the area.

West Virginia plans to call out the National Guard if an outbreak occurs there because the guard has heavy machinery that could help quickly bury the large numbers of animals likely to be slaughtered. Workers disposing of the animals would have to be quarantined until the job was done.

May 5, 2003 - Cinco De Mayo Danger