WASHINGTON (CNN) — The U.S. military wants to establish regional teams of military personnel to assist civilian authorities in the event of a significant outbreak of the H1N1 virus this fall, according to Defense Department officials.
The proposal is awaiting final approval from Defense Secretary Robert Gates.
The officials would not be identified because the proposal from U.S. Northern Command’s Gen. Victor Renuart has not been approved by the secretary.
The plan calls for military task forces to work in conjunction with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. There is no final decision on how the military effort would be manned, but one source said it would likely include personnel from all branches of the military.
It has yet to be determined how many troops would be needed and whether they would come from the active duty or the National Guard and Reserve forces.
Civilian authorities would lead any relief efforts in the event of a major outbreak, the official said. The military, as they would for a natural disaster or other significant emergency situation, could provide support and fulfill any tasks that civilian authorities could not, such as air transport or testing of large numbers of viral samples from infected patients.
As a first step, Gates is being asked to sign a so-called “execution order” that would authorize the military to begin to conduct the detailed planning to execute the proposed plan.
Orders to deploy actual forces would be reviewed later, depending on how much of a health threat the flu poses this fall, the officials said.
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – The Department of Veterans Affairs says a fourth person exposed to dirty equipment at its hospitals has tested positive for HIV. The test result revealed Friday is the second positive HIV test from a patient who was treated at a VA hospital in Miami. The VA is investigating problems with cleaning medical equipment used for colonoscopies as well as ear, nose and throat exams at three of its Southeast hospitals. Positive HIV tests have also been reported from patients at VA clinics in Murfreesboro, Tenn., and Augusta, Ga.
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – Three patients exposed to contaminated medical equipment at Veterans Affairs hospitals have tested positive for HIV, the agency said Friday. Initial tests show one patient each from VA medical facilities in Murfreesboro, Tenn.; Augusta, Ga.; and Miami has the virus that causes AIDS, according to a VA statement. The three cases included one positive HIV test reported earlier this month, but the VA didn’t identify the facility involved at the time. The patients are among more than 10,000 getting tested because they were treated with endoscopic equipment that wasn’t properly sterilized and exposed them to other people’s body fluids.
(CNN) — For much of the last century, people in the small town of Libby, Montana, were surrounded by toxic asbestos. It covered patches of grass, dusted the tops of cars and drifted through the air in a hazy smoke that became a part of their daily lives. Now, after decades of suffering and watching loved ones die, area residents are getting their day in court. Federal prosecutors have begun a trial of the mining company they blame for the pollution, which doctors say left more than 1,000 people ill and more than 200 dead. “There’s never been a case where so many people were sickened or killed by environmental crime,” says David Uhlmann, who helped spearhead the case when he was the Justice Department’s top prosecutor of environmental crimes before stepping down in 2007. “It’s the most significant environmental criminal prosecution that’s ever been brought.” Donald Munsel, a 71-year-old Libby resident, told CNN on Monday that the legal efforts “should have been over a long time ago.” Munsel says he has suffered from lung cancer linked to asbestos exposure.
Twelve years ago, Irving Weissman discovered a treatment that might have saved the lives of thousands of women with advanced breast cancer, but pharmaceutical companies weren’t interested in developing the therapy. Though that interest is finally being reignited, Weissman doesn’t pull any punches. “I hate to say I told you so,” he said. Weissman, a professor of pathology and developmental biology at Stanford University, spoke Wednesday and Thursday as part of the Columbia University Department of Religion’s Bampton Lecture series. The lecture series is modeled after a centuries-old Oxford series of the same name, and invites famous authorities in their respective fields to give talks on various issues of interest to the religious community. In Wednesday’s lecture, Weissman laid out the conceptual foundation of his work—that stem cells are rare, self-renewing, and can regenerate body tissues. Weissman repeatedly expressed frustration that while many of his discoveries seemed to hold remarkable potential for life-saving treatments, commercial or regulatory hurdles have prevented his scientific research from benefiting human beings. One example is Weissman’s mid-’90s research on type I diabetes, in which he demonstrated the ability to fully cure type I diabetes in mice using stem cells. But even though the experiments avoided political controversy by using so-called adult stem cells, which do not come from embryos, Weissman ran into a road block when pharmaceutical companies refused to sponsor clinical trials. The therapy went nowhere. Weissman implied that the pharmaceutical companies had put profit over principle, preferring to keep diabetes sufferers dependent on costly insulin than to cure them once and for all.
…”The payment isn’t in the cure, it’s in the cutback.”-Chris Rock
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