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Officials watching for signs of mutation in swine flu

Published: Tuesday, August 07, 2012 @ 5:46 PM
Updated: Wednesday, August 08, 2012 @ 7:06 AM

As state and federal health officials monitor county fairs for signs of swine flu, they remind residents that it’s safe to visit the livestock barns, as long as they practice common sense. Their advice:

• Wash your hands frequently with soap and running water before and after exposure to animals.

• Never eat, drink or put things in your mouth in animal areas, and don’t take food or drink into animal areas.

• Young children, pregnant women, people 65 and older and people with weakened immune systems should be extra careful around animals.

• If you have animals – including swine – watch them for signs of illness and call a veterinarian if you suspect they might be sick.

• Avoid close contact with animals that look or act ill, when possible.

• Avoid contact with swine if you are experiencing flu-like symptoms.

Experts from Public Health - Dayton & Montgomery County will be available to answer your questions from noon to 1 p.m. duing an online chat at DaytonDailyNews.com. The Dayton Daily News will continue to bring you the latest updates on the swine flu and how it is affecting area people and county fairs.

H3N2v, the strain of swine flu that has sickened 15 people in Ohio, first emerged last year, when it sickened 12 people.

So far this year, it has been reported in Ohio, Indiana and Hawaii. Everyone infected has been in contact with infected swine at state or county fairs. None has required hospitalization so far this year.

Swine flu rarely infects people.

Symptoms from swine flu are the same as those associated with seasonal flu, and include fever, fatigue, body aches, cough and sore throat. Some people also experience nausea and vomiting.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that in previous years, they’ve only tracked one or two cases a year of variant swine flu strains infecting people. The viruses rarely mutate to become easily transmitted from person to person.

The Ohio outbreak of swine flu that has sickened 15 people — 14 in Butler County and one in Clark County — is in its early stages but is being closely monitered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Because flu viruses mutate rapidly, the CDC is tracking the H3N2 virus and working with county fair officials across the U.S. as well as state health and agriculture officials this summer to track flu-like symptoms in both humans and swine. If the strain mutates, it could change to make people sicker, or it could become a milder infection. It could also change in a way that makes it more contagious.

The 15 people infected in the region had contact with infected swine at the Butler County Fair and the Ohio State Fair.

The same strain has sickened people Hawaii and Indiana this year. Last year, it infected people in Maine, Pennsylvania, Utah and West Virginia.

So far, none of the people who’ve taken ill have required hospitalization, Bresee said.

Concerns about swine flu shouldn’t stop people from enjoying county fairs this summer, said Dr. Joe Bresee, a medical epidemiologist in the CDC’s influenza division.

He said people should remember to wash their hands frequently and cover their coughs and sneezes.

“It is safe to go to the fair,” Bresee said. “We’re not recommending people don’t go to fairs. We’re just recommending that people do commonsense measures to prevent infection.”

Health officials’ best advice is for fair-goers to wash their hands and use hand sanitizer after visiting livestock barns and to avoid contact with sick pigs, he said.

“Long-term, I think it’s probably the fried Twinkies that will get you,” he said.

Officials with the Champaign County Fair, which closes Friday in Urbana, are in daily contact with the CDC and state health officials, said Tom Tullis, vice president of the fair. They’ve also worked with the Ohio Department of Agriculture to make sure there’s plenty of hand sanitizer in all of the livestock barns and signs up reminding fair-goers to wash their hands and avoid eating in the barns.

“One of our staff veterinarians goes through the buildings three times a day, and anything that has a temperature, he’ll ask the committee to take that animal off the grounds,” Tullis said.

Every year, state veterinarians randomly test swine for signs of infection, he said.

Workers with Public Health - Dayton & Montgomery County are working with organizers of the Montgomery County Fair to bring them up to speed on the swine flu outbreak, said health department spokesman Bill Wharton. The fair opens Aug. 29 in Dayton.

Flu viruses are usually species-specific; human flu viruses infect people and swine flu viruses infect pigs. Sometimes, though, a swine influenza A virus can infect people. When flu spreads from pigs to people, it’s believed to spread the same way seasonal flu spreads from person to person. An infected pig might cough or sneeze, and a nearby human could breathe in the virus, or come in contact with a surface the or object the virus has touched, then put their hands to their mouths, nose or eyes.

As flu viruses mutate, they may pick up genes from other flu strains. H3N2v contains a gene from the H1N1 flu strain that caused the 2009-2010 flu pandemic.

So far this summer, the H3N2v flu strain is only spreading from infected pigs to people. Last year, there were a few cases in which the same strain spread from person to person. The CDC is monitoring how the strain is spreading both because it’s a new strain and because summer isn’t the typical season for flu in the Northern Hemisphere.

It’s too soon to say whether the H3N2v flu will spread from person to person this year, he said.

“I think this virus can do that. The question is whether this virus can do it efficiently or not,” he said. “Last year, we didn’t see much person-to-person spread, and we didn’t see ongoing spread that kept the outbreak going.”

Another Orca dies at SeaWorld

Published: Thursday, August 17, 2017 @ 6:09 PM

SeaWorld Loses Another Orca

It’s been a sad year for SeaWorld, having lost two orcas already.

>> Read more trending news 

Unfortunately, things just got more tragic with news that the matriarch of its killer whale family has died. Officials at the park in San Diego confirmed that Kasatka, a 41-year-old orca, died “surrounded by members of her pod, as well as the veterinarians and caretakers who loved her.”

>> RELATED: SeaWorld’s baby orca, the last to be born in captivity, has died

Caretakers decided to euthanize her after her quality of life had been compromised. The whale had a long history of lung disease.

“I have spent the past several years with Kasatka and was truly blessed to be part of her life,” orca behaviorist Kristi Burtis said.

“Although I am heartbroken,” she added, “I am grateful for the special time we had together and for the difference she has made for wild orcas by all that we have learned from her. I adored Kasatka and loved sharing her with millions of people. I will miss her very much.”

>> RELATED: Famed orca whale Tilikum of SeaWorld has died

Earlier this summer, Kyara, a 3-month-old orca that was the last born in captivity, died, which came on the heels of SeaWorld San Antonio losing Tilikum, the notorious whale that had killed a SeaWorld trainer, back in January.

‘Twin Peaks’ actor arrested, accused of beating woman with baseball bat

Published: Friday, August 18, 2017 @ 10:08 AM

Twin Peaks returned to the television Sunday night after a 26-year absence, and broke Showtime subscription records. "In the world that we live in now, offering original programming that attracts new subscribers is our primary business objective,”

An actor who appeared in an episode of “Twin Peaks: The Return” has been arrested on a charge of attempted second degree murder after allegedly beating a woman with a baseball bat.

According to a press release from the Spokane, Washington, police department, officers responded to a call from a local business around 5:40 p.m. Wednesday for an alleged assault. The call said a man, identified as actor Jeremy Lindholm — he appeared in one scene of the limited series’ Part 6 episode as Mickey  — was assaulting a woman with a baseball bat. When officers arrived at the scene, Lindholm was fleeing out the back of the business with the bat in hand. He “quickly gave up” when officers confronted him in the alley, according to the release, and was then taken into custody.

Surveillance video caught footage of the incident from inside the business and captured the “extremely violent assault perpetrated by Lindholm,” according to the release.

Jeremy Lindholm

Upon interviewing both the victim and witnesses at the scene of the crime, police learned the incident was “domestic violence related.” 

After watching the footage, officers believed that the victim was in danger. “There was information suggesting the intent of (Lindholm) was to kill the victim,” according to the release.

Officers booked Lindholm, 41, into Spokane County Jail on multiple charges: attempted murder second degree, second-degree assault and several others, including assault of the victim’s friend.

The victim received serious but non-life-threatening injuries and was transported by ambulance to a local hospital.

According to TMZ (which first reported the news), Lindholm is being held on $100,000 bond.

“MAM represents Jeremy Lindholm. We have worked with him on bookings for television, film, and commercial projects. We are stunned at the news of his arrest,” Lindholm’s talent agent, Anne Lillian Mitchell, said in a statement to PEOPLE. “Our interaction with him has always been consistently professional. We will monitor the trial. Our thoughts are with all involved and their families.”

On Aug. 5, Lindholm shared a photo to Twitter of himself standing beside a TV that was playing his scene from the Showtime limited series. “How are you watching Twin Peaks? Don’t forget it begins airing at 8pm this Sunday,” he wrote.

Showtime declined to comment.

“Twin Peaks” airs Sundays (8 p.m. ET) on Showtime.

This article originally appeared on People.com

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On the ballot: Oxford council, Talawanda school board contested races

Published: Monday, August 14, 2017 @ 11:09 AM

The deadline for candidates to file for office in Oxford and Oxford Twp. has passed. Election Day is Nov. 7. Early voting begins Oct. 11. FILE
The deadline for candidates to file for office in Oxford and Oxford Twp. has passed. Election Day is Nov. 7. Early voting begins Oct. 11. FILE

There are 23 races set up to be contested in November’s election, pending certification of those races by the Butler County Board of Elections on Aug. 21. 

Here are the candidates for Oxford City Council, Oxford Twp. and Talawanda Board of Education.

Those with (i) indicates they are the incumbent and (c) indicates they have been certified to be on the November ballot.

MORE: For the latest political news, visit the Journal-News.com

OXFORD

City Council (4 to be elected)

  • Drew Davis
  • Jace Prows
  • David Prytherch
  • Chantel Lin Raghu (c)
  • Michael Smith (i)
  • Edna Carter Southard (i)(c)
  • Samantha E. Vogel (c)
  • Corey A. Watt
  • Austin Worrell

OXFORD TWP.

Trustee (2 to be elected)

  • Matthew D. Franke
  • Peter McCarthy
  • Norma Pennock (i)(c)
  • Gary R. Salmon (i)(c)

Fiscal officer (1 to be elected)

  • Shaunna Tafelski (i)

TALAWANDA CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT

Board member (2 to be elected)

  • Patrick Meade (c)
  • Lori Lynn Parks
  • Mary Jane Roberts (i)(c)
  • Lois A. Vollmer (i)

The filing deadline for the November 2017 ballot has passed for most city council races and all village council, township trustee and local school board races.

All candidates for local races, except for Hamilton and Middletown city council and mayoral races, had to file by 4 p.m. Aug. 9 to file petitions for office.

MORE: Butler County’s November ballot shaping up to have few contested races

Hamilton and Middletown city council and mayoral candidates have until Aug. 24 to file petitions as per their respective city charters.

Investigators discover true identity for NH serial killer, seek more tips

Published: Friday, August 18, 2017 @ 10:00 AM



FBI
(FBI)

A serial killer known by the FBI under several aliases, and who died in prison in 2010, has finally been identified, according to the New Hampshire Attorney General's Office.

The man believed to be responsible for at least 6 deaths was referred to by the FBI as Robert ‘Bob’ Evans, but has been identified as Terry Peder Rasmussen.

Police say Rasmussen was born in 1943 in Denver, Colorado and lived in Colorado and Arizona before he eventually enlisted in the Navy and later made his way to New Hampshire.

>> Read more trending news 

It was while he was living in New Hampshire that police say he was responsible for the murders of three unidentified children and one unidentified woman found in barrels in Bear Brook State Park. The Barrels were found in 1985 and 2000, though police say they were likely dumped there in the late 1970s.

>>AG: Man who killed woman, 3 children in Allenstown also killed missing Manchester woman

Police say Rasmussen worked as an electrician at Waumbec Mills during that time and likely left New Hampshire with Denise Beaudin – a woman who hasn’t been seen since – around 1981.

The identity of Evans/Rasmussen and his connection to crimes in New Hampshire became apparent late last year when a woman named ‘Lisa’ discovered her true identity as the daughter of Denise Beaudin. She had been abandoned by Rasmussen in a California trailer park shortly after he disappeared from New Hampshire in the 1980s.

According to court documents, Rasmussen – under an alias – agreed to give up custody or ‘Lisa’ and serve time in prison in exchange for police dropping molestation charges against him.

In a press release issued Friday morning, police now say Rasmussen was discharged from the Navy in 1967 and was married in Hawaii before his wife gave birth to twin girls, a son and another daughter.

According to the New Hampshire Attorney General's Office, Rasmussen’s wife left him in 1974 and took the children with her. Police say his former wife and four children are alive and accounted for.

With this identification, police say they hope tips will help fill in the remaining gaps about Rasmussen’s whereabouts in the late 1970s and the identity of the woman and children found dead in barrels in New Hampshire.

>>New England's Unsolved: The Allenstown Murders