An anthrax outbreak in Bangladesh has infected more than 500 individuals since August 18th. The infections were acquired from eating or handling contaminated cattle. In one instance, a man purchased a cow which became ill a few days later. He brought the cow to a veterinarian where it was vaccinated against anthrax. This would have [...]
This post was researched and written by our bright, young summer intern, Sasha M. In today’s media-thick world, an issue that comes up with surprising infrequence is biosecurity. Perhaps this is related to the fact that spell-check just came up to tell me it wasn’t a word. But Webster-compliant or not, biosecurity is a real [...]
9 August 2010 More than just a resource, water is the essential force for life. And in an arid region such as the Middle East, its scarcity forces water and those places with abundant water to take on near-mythical properties. Called Felix Arabia or Happy Arabia by the Romans, Yemen was long the breadbasket of [...]
2.3 million bags of maize are contaminated with aflatoxins this year in Kenya, according to afrol News. Aflatoxins are produced by the Aspergillus species of fungus, most notably Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus, and are highly carcinogenic and damaging to the liver. This natural outbreak in Kenya has made a large portion of “maize unfit [...]
The New York Times reported today on the emergence of Cassava Brown Streak Virus in regions of Africa where the tuber is a key food crop. Emphasizing the food’s importance, the Times notes:
“After rice and wheat, cassava is the world’s third-largest source of calories. Under many names, including manioc, tapioca and yuca, it is eaten by 800 million people in Africa, South America and Asia.”
The new virus, a recently characterized emerging variant in East Africa, renders the crop inedible. The estimated $50 million in research funding aimed at deterring the disease is a small fraction of the amounts spent on diseases that infect humans in the developing world.
The third session of the BIO biosecurity conference focused on agricultural biosecurity. If it sometimes seems difficult to defend major population centers against attack, that challenge is only magnified when considering the geographic scale, and economic importance, of the food supply.