2020 election sees record high turnout with at least 159.8 million votes projected

first_imgThe number of ballots cast in 2020 by mail or in person before Election Day more than doubled that of 2016.Overall, Democrats had an early vote advantage heading into Election Day with 43% of early or absentee votes compared with Republicans’ 37%. While more Democrats than Republicans voted early by mail, more GOP voters cast ballots early in person than Democrats.Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, many states expanded mail-in and in-person early voting, seeing huge dividends in voter turnout. Texas led early voting with at least 9.6 million votes cast before Election Day, according to NBC News and TargetSmart data.No winner has been called yet in the 2020 presidential election as key states continue to tally votes. The projected 159.8 million cast ballots represent the highest number of voters in a U.S. presidential election in history. In 2016, the total stood just above 136.6 million votes.Around 239.2 million Americans were eligible to vote in 2020, according to the U.S. Elections Project. NBC News’ projected 159.8 million ballots cast in 2020 would constitute about a 66.8% voter turnout rate among eligible citizens — the highest since 1900.The record voter turnout in 2020 was buoyed by more than 100 million ballots cast during the early voting period, according to data from the NBC News Decision Desk and TargetSmart, an analytics firm.- Advertisement – – Advertisement – Subscribe to CNBC PRO for access to the livestream of CNBC’s continuous election and business news coverage. At least 159.8 million Americans voted in the 2020 presidential election, according to NBC News projections Wednesday morning.The projected vote total marks a record high number of ballots cast in a presidential election and the highest voter turnout rate among eligible citizens since 1900.With 86% of the expected vote tallied as of 9:00 a.m. ET, NBC News projects that Democratic candidate Joe Biden received more than 68.6 million votes, President Donald Trump received more than 65.9 million votes and other candidates received more than 2.1 million votes. At least 23 million votes have yet to be tallied, NBC News estimates.- Advertisement – Miami Shores voter Mary Kay Paterno (Center) waits in line along with a few dozen voters as doors open on Election Day morning, November 3, 2020 at the C. Lawton McCall Community Center.Emily Michot | Miami Herald | Tribune News Service | Getty Images – Advertisement –last_img read more

Joshua vs Pulev: Anthony Joshua making ‘a mistake’ by looking ahead to Tyson Fury fight, warns Kubrat Pulev’s manager | Boxing News

first_imgHistoric triple-header of women’s world title fights on Saturday night, live on Sky Sports, will also be streamed for free on YouTube, Facebook and skysports.com; Katie Taylor headlines, Terri Harper makes a defence of her world title and Rachel Ball battles to become the latest champion By Richard Damerell & James DielhennLast Updated: 10/11/20 5:59pm Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury not fighting at least once in the UK would be ‘a shame’, says promoter Eddie Hearn. “It’s always been my wish,” Joshua told Sky Sports. “Not just the WBC but competing with the toughest challenges that the heavyweight division has to offer.“That’s the only way to get better, right? You have a tough night, you go back again, you improve whether you win or lose.“Fighting for the WBC would be an honour. It’s a prestigious belt, it’s one that I’m keen on getting my hands on.“When the time is right, the opportunity will present itself.“When the WBC talk comes around? Hopefully people understand that: ‘Joshua is serious’. Which I am.” 1:33 Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury not fighting at least once in the UK would be ‘a shame’, says promoter Eddie Hearn. 4:03 Kubrat Pulev has beaten Derek Chisora Kubrat Pulev has beaten Derek Chisora

Blackpink: Why a K-pop girl band’s panda cuddle has angered Chinese

first_imgBut Chinese wildlife groups say there are strict rules and regulations around the treatment of pandas, which are classed as a vulnerable species by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). Only trained professionals are allowed to handle them, they say.- Advertisement – – Advertisement –last_img

A Pennsylvania postal worker withdrew a claim that ballots were backdated, officials say.

first_imgBallots must have been postmarked by Election Day, Nov. 3, to count. The implication of Mr. Hopkins’s claim was that postal workers had backdated ballots that should have been disqualified.- Advertisement – Not long after the Democrats’ announcement, Project Veritas — a conservative group that researchers say has run a disinformation campaign to delegitimize the voting process — released a video in which Mr. Hopkins said that he had not actually recanted his statements.Mr. Hopkins had claimed in a sworn affidavit given to President Trump’s campaign that he overheard what he believed to be a discussion about backdating postmarks on ballots that arrived at the postal facility after Election Day. The Postal Service’s inspector general has informed Congress that a worker who had made allegations of ballot corruption at a facility in Erie, Pa., had disavowed his claims, which Republicans had called evidence of widespread fraud in Pennsylvania’s voting.Richard Hopkins, a postal employee in Erie, “completely” recanted allegations that a supervisor was “tampering with mail-in ballots” after investigators questioned him, the inspector general’s office said on Tuesday, according to the Democratic leadership of the House Oversight and Reform Committee.- Advertisement – In Pennsylvania, mail-in ballots received after Election Day have been separated from those that arrived by Nov. 3 and have not been counted yet. President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. has won Pennsylvania without them.Only about 130 mail-in ballots arrived after Election Day, out of about 135,000 ballots cast in Erie County, the chairman of the county’s board of elections said in a statement. – Advertisement –last_img read more

Stock futures flat as traders weigh virus resurgence and its impact on the economy

first_imgPhillip Colmar, partner at MRB Partners, said wrote in a note that the global economic recovery “will be sustained, but the V-shaped portion is over, and we have already transitioned to a slower pace of two-steps forward and one back.”Disney, Cisco jump on earningsShares of Dow members Disney and Cisco rose sharply in after-hours trading after both companies reported quarterly results that beat analyst expectations.Disney traded more than 3% higher after the bell as the company said it now has 73 million paid subscribers for its streaming service, Disney+. The media giant also reported a smaller-than-expected loss for the quarter.Cisco popped more than 6% on the back of strong earnings and revenue. The company also issued better-than-expected guidance for the current quarter.Subscribe to CNBC PRO for exclusive insights and analysis, and live business day programming from around the world. – Advertisement – U.S. stock futures were flat on Thursday night as Wall Street continues to grapple with the rising number of coronavirus cases and its potential economic impact.Dow Jones Industrial Average futures traded 2 points higher, or less than 0.1%. S&P 500 futures gained 0.2% and Nasdaq 100 futures advanced 0.3%.Earlier on Thursday, the Dow dropped more than 300 points during the regular session, notching its second straight daily decline. The S&P 500 pulled back 1%, leaving it just 0.8% higher for the week after surging on Monday amid positive vaccine news.- Advertisement – Traders work the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.NYSEcenter_img – Advertisement – Those losses came as the number of coronavirus cases, and hospitalizations, keeps climbing in the U.S. A CNBC analysis of data compiled by Johns Hopkins University showed average daily new cases are up by at least 5% over the past week in at least 47 states. Hospitalizations, meanwhile, rising in at least 46 states.Sentiment on Thursday soured even further after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said the country’s economic outlook remained uncertain. “With the virus spreading, the next few months could be challenging,” he said.The resurgence in coronavirus cases has also led some parts of the country to re-adopt stricter social-distancing measures. In Chicago, Mayor Lori Lightfoot asked residents to cancel their Thanksgiving plans and stay indoors as cases rise in the city. In New York state, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said new curfews on bars, restaurants and gyms will take effect on Friday.- Advertisement –last_img read more

Apple Hits Back at European Activist Max Schrems’ Complaints Against Tracking Tool

first_imgThe code, stored on the device, makes it possible to track a user’s online behaviour and consumption preferences, vital in allowing companies to send targeted advertisements.“Apple places codes that are comparable to a cookie in its phones without any consent by the user. This is a clear breach of European Union privacy laws,” Noyb lawyer Stefano Rossetti said.Rossetti referred to the EU’s e-Privacy Directive, which requires a user’s consent before installation and using such information.- Advertisement – An Austrian privacy advocacy group drew a strongly critical response from Apple on Monday after it said an online tracking tool used in its devices breached European law.The group, led by campaigner Max Schrems, filed complaints with data protection watchdogs in Germany and Spain alleging that the tracking tool illegally enabled the $2 trillion (roughly Rs.1,48,83,500 crores) US tech giant to store users’ data without their consent.- Advertisement – Apple directly rebutted the claims filed by Noyb, the digital rights group founded by Schrems, saying they were “factually inaccurate and we look forward to making that clear to privacy regulators should they examine the complaint”.Schrems is a prominent figure in Europe’s digital rights movement that has resisted intrusive data-gathering by Silicon Valley’s tech platforms. He has fought two cases against Facebook, winning landmark judgments that forced the social network to change how it handles user data.Noyb’s complaints were brought against Apple’s use of a tracking code, known as the Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA), that is automatically generated on every iPhone when it is set up.- Advertisement – – Advertisement – No accessApple said in response that it “does not access or use the IDFA on a user’s device for any purpose”.It said its aim was to protect the privacy of its users and that the latest release of its iOS 14 operating system gave users greater control over whether apps could link with third parties for the purposes of targeted advertising.The Californian tech giant said in September it would delay plans to launch iOS 14 until early next year.Apple accounts for one in every four smartphones sold in Europe, according to Counterpoint Research.The claims were made on behalf of a German and a Spanish consumer and handed to the Spanish data protection authority and its counterpart in Berlin, said Noyb.Spain’s privacy protection agency confirmed it received a complaint from Noyb against Apple but declined to comment.The Berlin agency had no comment. In Germany, each federal state has its own data protection authority.Noyb said its claims were based on the 2002 e-Privacy Directive that allows national authorities to impose fines autonomously, avoiding lengthy proceedings it faced in its case against Facebook that was based on the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).The GDPR regime launched in 2018 included a mandatory cooperation mechanism among national authorities, which Noyb says has slowed progress.Rossetti said the action aimed to establish a clear principle that “tracking must be the exception, not the rule”.Apple, responding, said: “Our practices comply with European law and support and advance the aims of the GDPR and the ePrivacy Directive, which is to give people full control over their data.”© Thomson Reuters 2020Will Apple Silicon Lead to Affordable MacBooks in India? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.last_img read more

Poco X3 Call Recording Feature Now Enabled in India, Company Announces

first_imgMeanwhile, Xiaomi phones have reportedly been facing an issue that puts their phones into a bootloop, making them restart again and again. Poco X3 is reportedly one of the affected phones, besides Mi 10, Redmi K20 Pro, Redmi Note 7 Pro, and more.The problem emerged after the phones receive an error that reads, “Find Device closed unexpectedly.” Xiaomi noted that the issue emerged due to certain lines of code misbehaving during an app update. Phones running MIUI 12.05 Global Stable ROM seem to have primarily impacted due to the issue. Some users also reportedly lost their data as they had to reset their phones.Poco X3 specificationsPoco X3 features a 6.67-inch full-HD+ (1,080×2,340 pixels) display with 120Hz refresh rate. The dual-SIM (Nano) smartphone runs on MIUI 12 for Poco, based on Android 10. It is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 5. Under the hood, Poco X3 is powered by the octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 732G SoC, coupled with 8GB of LPDDR4X RAM. It comes with up to 128GB of UFS 2.1 onboard storage that is expandable via microSD card (up to 256GB).- Advertisement – In terms of optics, the smartphone has a quad rear camera setup featuring a 64-megapixel primary sensor. It also has a 13-megapixel secondary sensor, a 2-megapixel depth sensor, and a 2-megapixel macro shooter. For video calls and selfies, Poco X3 has a 20-megapixel snapper at the front.Poco X3 packs a 6,000mAh battery that supports 33W fast charging. Connectivity options on the smartphone include Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 4G, GPS/ A-GPS, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and a USB Type-C port for charging. It is rated IP53 for water and dust resistance. Sensors onboard include accelerometer, gyroscope, ambient light sensor, and proximity sensor. There is also a side-mounted fingerprint scanner.Poco M2 Pro: Did we really need a Redmi Note 9 Pro clone? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.- Advertisement – Poco X3 users can now record calls on their smartphones. Poco announced on Twitter that the much-awaited call-recording feature has been enabled on Poco X3. The smartphone was launched in India in September and is available in three RAM and storage configurations. It is available in Cobalt Blue and Shadow Grey colour variants. The Poco smartphone is a successor to Poco X2 that was launched in February this year.As announced by the Xiaomi sub-brand on Twitter, Poco X3 users can now make use of the call-recording feature. Poco X3 had a virtual launch and went on sale In India on September 29.- Advertisement –center_img – Advertisement –last_img read more

NIAID starts first US human trial of SARS vaccine

first_img Chinese researchers began clinical trials of another experimental SARS vaccine, using inactivated SARS virus, last May, the NIAID noted. The Chinese government said last week that the vaccine had proved safe and effective in a phase 1 clinical trial involving 36 volunteers. The NIAID said more information about the SARS vaccine trial can be obtained by calling the Vaccine Research Center at 1-866-833-LIFE or visiting the center’s Web site (see link below). The agency will test the vaccine for safety and the ability to stimulate an immune response in 10 healthy volunteers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Clinical Center in Bethesda, Md., the NIAID said in a news release yesterday. “Scientists expect that the DNA will direct human cells to produce proteins very similar to the SARS spike protein,” the agency said. “The immune system should recognize these proteins as foreign and then mount a defense against them. If the vaccinated person ever encounters the actual SARS virus, his or her immune system will be primed to neutralize it.” In making the NIAID vaccine, researchers modified the fragment of viral DNA to minimize the risk that it could combine with the SARS virus or other coronaviruses, the NIAID said. See also: Officials said the vaccine was developed with “unprecedented speed,” given that SARS was not recognized as a new infectious disease until March 2003 and that it often takes decades to develop a successful vaccine. “We have dramatically cut vaccine development time with powerful new tools from two different fields, molecular biology and information technology,” stated NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, MD. The vaccine is innovative in that it consists of a small ring of SARS coronavirus DNA that encodes the virus’s “spike” protein, which helps the virus attach to human cells, the NIAID said. In contrast, conventional vaccine technology usually involves the use of a weakened or inactivated form of the whole virus. A team led by Gary J. Nabel, MD, director of the NIAID Vaccine Research Center, used the SARS virus genomic information to develop the new vaccine. The vaccine performed very well in mice, as reported by the team in Nature in March 2004.center_img Mar 31, 2004, CIDRAP News story “SARS vaccine works well in mice, NIAID says” The primary purpose of the trial is to test the vaccine’s safety, and the secondary goal is to assess its ability to trigger the production of antibodies and cellular immunity, officials said. The 10 volunteers will undergo periodic exams for 32 weeks after vaccination. The agency noted that Hong Kong researchers first proved that SARS was a viral disease in April 2003. The virus was genetically mapped by May 2003, which opened many avenues for developing diagnostic tests, treatments, and vaccines. Vical Inc. of San Diego is producing the new vaccine under a contract with the NIAID. Dec 13 NIH release on SARS vaccine trial NIAID Vaccine Research Center Dec 14, 2004 (CIDRAP News) – The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) has announced the start of its first human trial of a vaccine for SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome), less than 2 years after the disease was first recognized.last_img read more

Possible H5N1 case cluster reported in Indonesia

first_imgJan 11, 2007 (CIDRAP News) – The husband and son of an Indonesian woman who was being treated for H5N1 avian influenza were hospitalized with possible cases of the same illness today, and the woman died shortly afterward, according to news services.The 37-year-old woman died today at Persahabatan Hospital in East Jakarta, according to a Kyodo News report quoting I Nyoman Kandun of the Indonesian health ministry. The woman’s case was first reported Jan 8 and was confirmed by the World Health Organization (WHO) a day later.The woman’s 42-year-old husband and their 18-year-old son were hospitalized today with fever and signs of respiratory infection and were being tested for the H5N1 virus, according to a Bloomberg News report. The Kyodo News report listed the husband’s age as 45.The woman is Indonesia’s 59th person to die of avian flu and the second victim this year. A 14-year-old boy died of the illness at the same hospital yesterday. Both were from Tangerang on the west side of Jakarta. Indonesia has had 76 confirmed human cases, according to the WHO.Case clusters raise the possibility of human-to-human transmission of H5N1, which would increase the risk of a pandemic. A number of family clusters of infection have been reported, but human-to-human transmission has been proved by laboratory tests only once. The vast majority of human cases have been ascribed to contact with infected poultry.A family cluster of 7 confirmed and 1 probable H5N1 cases in Sumatra, Indonesia, last May was attributed to person-to-person transmission. The cluster included one 3-person transmission chain and the first laboratory-confirmed instance of human transmission. Seven of the 8 people in that cluster died.In the Sumatra cluster, all the sick people were reported to be blood relatives; no spouses contracted the disease. That observation fueled speculation about a possible genetic predisposition to the infection.In other developments today, an asymptomatic human infection with the H5N1 virus was reported in South Korea, while poultry outbreaks of H5N1 spread to a 5th province in Vietnam.Blood tests on a South Korean farm worker who was exposed to sick poultry during an outbreak in December showed evidence of H5N1 infection, though the worker had not been ill, according to a Bloomberg News story citing the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.South Korea has reported evidence of aymptomatic H5N1 infections in poultry industry workers before: 5 cases last September and 4 in February. Asymptomatic cases have rarely been reported elsewhere.The Bloomberg story noted that South Korea had 4 H5N1 outbreaks in poultry in 2006, after going more than 2 years with none.In Vietnam, avian outbreaks have spread to a 5th province, raising concern about a nationwide resurgence of the virus, according to an Agence France-Presse (AFP) report today.The virus killed 20 chickens on a small farm in the MeKong Delta province of Vinh Long, animal health officials in Hanoi said. Since December, the virus has also struck poultry in Ca Mau, Bac Lieu, Hau Giang, and Kien Giang provinces.Officials have blamed the outbreaks on gaps in the country’s mass vaccination program and farmers’ refusal to obey a ban on hatching ducks. AFP noted that Vietnam has had no human cases since November 2005, though it had 93 cases with 42 deaths before that.See also:Jun 23, 2006, CIDRAP News story “H5N1 mutation showed human transmission in Indonesia”Nov 28, 2005, CIDRAP News story “Many H5N1 cases bunched in families, report says”Sept 21, 2006, CIDRAP News story “Five Koreans had H5N1 virus but no illness”last_img read more

Foodborne disease registry urged in wake of outbreak

first_img CDC’s Salmonella outbreak update pagehttp://www.cdc.gov:80/salmonella/typhimurium/update.html Feb 5, 2009 (CIDRAP News) – A woman whose 7-year-old son became severely ill after eating tainted peanut butter crackers told a Senate committee today that the nation needs an electronic registry of foodborne disease cases to help public health agencies recognize outbreaks and find their causes faster. In a news release yesterday, PCA defended the Blakely plant, saying independent audit and food safety firms “conducted customary unannounced inspections of the Blakely facility in 2008. One gave the plant an overall ‘superior’ rating, and the other rated the plant as ‘Meet or Exceeds audit expectations (Acceptable-Excellent)’ ratings.” “In my opinion a functioning HACCP plan absolutely would have prevented the problem,” Hubbard said. Meunier said her son’s doctors had to inquire on their own whether local pediatricians had any similar patients. “If there had been a national database they’d have seen there were similar cases,” she said. “Also, if there were to be a terrorist attack using food, this information would be invaluable.” Agreeing with Hubbard was Caroline Smith DeWaal, food safety director for the consumer group Center for Science in the Public Interest: “Every company should have a food safety plan showing that it’s taking steps to minimize contamination. That’s the system we have for meat and poultry, but it’s not similarly applied to FDA products.” She said his illness was complicated by a Clostridium difficile infection, a pathogen that often causes serious infections in hospitals. “My concern is, was it in this cracker [that he ate]?” she said. “We do not know how he got it.” The most recent illness onset in the outbreak was Jan 27, he said. When the outbreak finally ends, officials won’t know it until 2 to 3 weeks later, given the lag time in identifying linked cases, he added. Boy was ‘violently ill’Meunier put a human face on the numbers by describing the case of her son, Christopher, who had his first symptoms of salmonellosis on Nov 25. “Two days later his health deteriorated dramatically and he became violently ill and was in tremendous pain,” she said. His condition finally stabilized after “6 terrorizing days.” “If we could move toward universal HACCP, we’d have an exponentially safer food system,” Hubbard said. “I think the proof is in the pudding in meat and juice and seafood; we’ve seen outbreaks going down, we’ve seen better inspection results.” Dr. Stephen Sundlof of the FDA said the case count in the 43-state outbreak reached 575 as of yesterday, 25 more than were reported 2 days ago. A total of 127 patients required hospitalization, and the number of deaths related to the outbreak remained at 8, said Sundlof, director of the FDA Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. A ‘big loophole’ in reporting findingsIn other testimony, FDA and CDC officials outlined the course of the outbreak and response. Sundlof later noted that PCA did supply the testing records during the FDA’s January investigation in Blakely. Meunier said her son’s case has inspired her to work to change the food safety system. “I believe that technology is the key to improving our response to foodborne illnesses at every step on the way,” she said. Adding that her son now has arthritis as a result of the infection, she said, “I don’t know if he’ll fully recover from that ever.” Sundlof said the FDA began investigating peanut butter in institutional food services before it had been conclusively identified as the culprit food. Minnesota health officials’ discovery of Salmonella in an open tub of peanut butter served in a Minnesota nursing home steered the FDA  to King Nut, an Ohio-based peanut butter distributor, and then to the PCA plant in Blakely. Senators who listened to testimony from FDA officials about the outbreak response said the FDA needs the authority, now lacking, to require food processing facilities and private laboratories to report any Salmonella findings in food. Among other recommendations, experts said the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) needs to imitate the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and require detailed food safety plans at all food processing plants. A call for HACCP plansOn the prevention side of the issue, William Hubbard, former senior associate commissioner for policy, planning, and legislation at the FDA, recommended that the FDA require all food processing plants to use the same type of food safety plans that the USDA requires in meatpacking plants and that the FDA already requires for seafood and juice. PCA’s Blakely plant was inspected periodically by Georgia officials under contract with the FDA. When the FDA officials investigated the plant in January, they found various problems, including mold, roaches, a leaky roof, faulty storage practices, and a dozen cases in which the company sold products that had initially tested positive for Salmonella. Sundlof recounted how the FDA review of testing records at the plant showed that in several instances in the past 2 years, the company had shipped product that had tested positive for Salmonella.center_img Senate Agriculture Committeehttp://agriculture.senate.gov/ “The key is prevention,” DeWaal said. “Let’s get written food safety plans in place so they [food facilities] can be audited by the states, maybe even by the federal government.” She also said she had trouble contacting the CDC and that it appeared that the CDC did not share information about her son’s case with the FDA, because an FDA official asked her the same questions the CDC had asked her previously. Michael Chappell, the FDA’s acting associate commissioner for regulatory affairs, said an FDA supervisor felt that the state inspections and resulting corrective actions by PCA “were consistent with observations and corrections the FDA would make. . . . The problems were considered to be somewhat resolved and the state was working with the company.” Under questioning by Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, chairman of the committee, Sundlof said the FDA contracted with Georgia officials to inspect the plant starting in 2006, and the state inspected the plant at least twice a year. The state found some problems there in 2007 and 2008 and reported them to the FDA, he said. Later, in reference to the Salmonella testing done by an outside lab for PCA, Sundlof testified, “I don’t believe we have any direct authority over labs to require them to provide their results, to provide information they could consider proprietary to that firm.” And Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., ranking minority member of the committee, called for strong enforcement of existing laws. “I’d like to see someone go to jail for this,” he said, referring to the Salmonella contamination in the Peanut Corp. of America (PCA) peanut processing plant in Blakely, Ga., which has been linked to the outbreak. Other recommendations included new tools for public health agencies at all levels, greater investments by state and local agencies in outbreak detection and response, and splitting the FDA into two separate agencies, one for food and one for drugs. Rear Admiral Ali S. Khan, assistant surgeon general and deputy director of the CDC’s National Center for Zoonotic, Vector-borne, and Enteric Diseases, said the first cluster of 13 cases from 12 states was recognized through Pulsenet, the CDC’s DNA fingerprinting system for foodborne pathogens, on Nov 10. He added, “The second thing we need is better investment at the state and local level to actually make these diagnoses quickly, do the Pulsenet testing quickly, do the interviews quickly, and then hand that off to FDA as quickly as possible.” It took days to figure out the cause of her son’s illness, Meunier said. “We thought he had terrible internal injuries; never once did anyone mention Salmonella poisoning. Never once did we think that a cracker could contain poisoning.” She called for the creation of a national foodborne disease registry to record and share information about cases and outbreaks. Such a database would make it possible for patients with foodborne infections to record much sooner what foods they ate before getting sick and would enable physicians treating such patients to learn quickly about similar cases, she said. In other comments, Khan said public health agencies need new lab tools and information tools to improve outbreak detection and response. He mentioned tools such as “computer-assisted telephone interviews” and “new ways to standardize and analyze information to understand what’s going on.” The suggestion, from Gabrielle Meunier of South Burlington, Vt., was one of a variety offered by witnesses at a hearing focusing on the nationwide Salmonella outbreak linked to peanut butter. “Any lab would be investigating 20 to 25 clusters at any given time, so they need boots on the ground” to speed investigations, Khan said. The USDA requires meat facilities to have “hazard analysis and critical control point,” or HACCP, plans, wherein they identify possible sources of contamination and list specific steps to control them. Sundlof said that unless the FDA has good reason to believe products are contaminated, food facilities are not required to show the agency records of pathogen testing during routine inspections, prompting Harkin to respond, “A company that finds Salmonella does not even have to report that? That’s a big loophole. That ought to be closed.” See also: FDA database of product recalls related to the outbreakhttp://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/peanutbutterrecall/index.cfmlast_img read more