Archive for December, 2012

FDA Find Bugs, Bird at Affiliate of Meningitis Pharmacy

Wednesday, December 26th, 2012

by Toni Clarke, Reuters (via The Chicago Tribune)

A sign for pharmaceutical compounding company NECC, a producer of the steroid methylprednisolone acetate, is seen in Framingham, Massachusetts. (Image credit: Jessica Rinaldi, Reuters)

(Reuters) – U.S. health inspectors found bugs, a flying bird and other unsterile conditions at Ameridose LLC, an affiliate of the Massachusetts compounding pharmacy at the heart of the deadly meningitis outbreak.

Westborough, Massachusetts-based Ameridose was closed on October 10 to allow state and federal investigators to inspect its facilities. On Monday the U.S. Food and Drug Administration released the results of its investigation.

The agency’s report details a list of quality control failures at Ameridose, including a failure to test the potency of its products, a failure to properly classify patient complaints and the use of “vague, canned language” when describing negative patient reactions to its drugs.

The company, an affiliate of the New England Compounding Center, said it is in the process of preparing a full response to the FDA.

“Ameridose’s history shows clearly that we have not had any instance of contaminated products over the course of the past six years, which covers the manufacture and shipment of 70 million units of product,” the company said in a statement. “Ameridose is committed to addressing all observations in order to enhance our existing systems.”

The investigation of Ameridose follows the closure of the NECC, which distributed thousands of vials of a steroid linked to an outbreak of fungal meningitis that has hit 19 states and claimed 32 lives.

Inspectors found that Ameridose failed to investigate customer complaints related to drug potency, under-filled products and syringe volumes. It also failed to classify “patient response” complaints as “adverse events.”

Several such complains referred to the drug oxytocin, used to induce labor in childbirth. One referred to “fetal distress and hyper stimulated uterus.” Another customer called to report an increase in post-partum hemorrhaging. Another reported that a patient had shortness of breath and that “the throat was closing.”

A complaint related to the painkiller fentanyl noted that the patient was “oversedated” and “unresponsive.” Another patient given the blood-thinner heparin experienced a “life-threatening” negative reaction.

Inspectors said buildings used to make, process, pack and hold the drugs were not maintained in a good state of repair. The firm failed to perform a microbiological assessment after “penetrating leaks” were found in a building and water dripping above the clean room.

“During the inspection we observed totes placed in the location of the penetrating leaks containing water,” the inspection report noted. “There is no documented evidence that the leaks were permanently corrected.”

Walls were cracked, corroded and covered with what appeared to be adhesive material in a room where sterile drugs are prepared, the report noted.

Equipment and utensils were not cleaned or sanitized at appropriate intervals to prevent contamination that could alter the safety, identity, quality or purity of the drugs, according to the report.

Certain metal surfaces “were observed to contain what appeared to be brownish structures, atypical in shape,” the report noted.

Moreover, the buildings used “are not free of infestation by rodents, birds, insects and other vermin,” the report said.

Specifically, insects were located in an area where finished sterile product is packaged and stored. The insects were also located within three to 10 feet of the controlled area where sterile products are manufactured.

At least one bird was observed flying in an area where sterile finished product is packaged and stored.

On Friday, Ameridose, which has the same owners as NECC, said it would lay off about 90 percent of its work force. About 650 employees at Ameridose will be affected, as well as 140 employees at Medical Sales Management, a company that provides sales, technology and human resources support to Ameridose.

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Oil company fined $22,500 over dead birds

Thursday, December 20th, 2012

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) – A Denver-based oil company has pleaded guilty to violating federal law in the deaths of migratory birds in fluid pits at the company’s oil and gas drilling facilities in Montana, Wyoming and Nebraska and has been fined $22,500.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Montana said SM Energy Co. pleaded guilty Wednesday one misdemeanor count of violating the Migratory Bird Treaty Act in each state. U.S. Magistrate Carolyn Ostby also placed the company on probation for a year and ordered it to make a $7,500 payment to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

The case dates back to 2005, when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service documented deaths of a dozen migratory birds at uncovered open fluid pits at Nance Petroleum sites in Wyoming. Nance later become an SM Energy subsidiary.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Bird Flu Controlled in Mexico

Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

by Xinhua News Agency

Image credit: US EPA

Mexican President Felipe Calderon on Wednesday announced that the bird flu having broken out four months ago in the western Jalisco state has been “totally controlled.”

“After 68 days with no new cases reported, we are entering the stage of eradication” of the H7N3 virus, Calderon said at the presidential residence.

Mexico will recover very soon from the highly dangerous avian influenza, he said, stressing that the control of this disease is the result of “great effort of the government and producers.”

Among the measures, he said the culling of over 22 million chickens, the establishment of a sanitary cordon and the development of an “effective vaccine against the disease, are crucial to control the virus quickly and decisively.”

In the past months, “around 140 million doses of vaccine have been applied, and we also have a sufficient reserve bank to use if necessary,” the president said.

Thanks to efforts to restore the productive capacity of the farming, Mexico is expected to recover in November the number of laying hens to the level prior to the outbreak of the avian influenza, he said.

Calderon noted that the goal now is to stimulate the creation of new chicken producers’ centers in other parts of Mexico to diversify regional egg production and prevent such an impact in the future. However, Jaime Crivelli, president of the National Poultry Union, criticized the government for minimizing the impact of the bird flu on egg production.

As a response, Calderon said his government acted in time, because otherwise the damage to egg production would have been irreversible in his country, the fifth largest producer in the world and the largest per capita egg consumer.

He announced a support of $16.6 million (215 million pesos)in normalizing egg production and credits for those who want to engage in egg production.

The president noted that so far 65 percent of egg production has been restored. Besides, the country has imported nearly 14,000 tons of eggs, mainly from the United States, to meet demand.

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Golden Eagle Snatches Kid Video – Not Likely

Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

In a YouTube video (Golden Eagle Snatches Kid) currently going viral and shown on Fox News, a Golden Eagle is supposedly shown attempting to carry off a small child.  Fortunately for all of us, this video is a fake.  Some viewers familiar with CGI animation claim that the sequence is most likely computer generated.  No matter how the clip was created, the bird in the video is definitely not a Golden Eagle.  The wing shape and plumage pattern are not at all similar to a Golden Eagle.  In fact, the exact plumage does not seem to exactly match any known eagle species—though some birders suggest that it most resembles an Australian Black-breasted Buzzard—which are frequently owned and flown by falconers.  If the clip is not computer generated, than this had to have been staged by someone with an exotic bird of prey and a doll.  Despite what we may see in the media, birds of prey are not a threat to small children, or even most household pets over 3 lbs.

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Battle to Protect Norwich’s Historic Buildings From Pigeons Widens

Tuesday, December 18th, 2012

by Richard Wheeler (via Norwich Evening News 24)

The battle to protect Norwich’s historic buildings from feathered invaders has intensified – as officials attempt to defend two more city attractions from their droppings.

How it could look if pigeons attacked Norwich Castle. (Image credit: Norwich Evening News 24)

Proposals to install pigeon-guarding systems have been put forward for the Bridewell and Shirehall, following a successful application for a similar idea at Norwich Castle. Mess on the pavement outside the Shirehall, in Market Avenue, below where the pigeons roost, affects access to the building for visitors according to planning documents from the Norfolk museums service.

The papers add that the droppings are also causing white staining to the stonework, which cleaning is “unlikely to remove”, as well as health and safety issues. At the Bridewell, the documents state the volume of pigeon waste creates a risk of “slipping on wet foul”.

Measures to deter pigeons from sills and ledges in the museum’s central courtyard were installed during a recent £1.5m refurbishment. But the plans reveal these are ineffective in many areas.

There are concerns at both sites that the mess stops workers being able to reach and clean out gutters and pipes to stop them getting blocked. There is a risk water could seep into the walls and damage the buildings’ walls if these are not unblocked.

Posts with thin wire on them are proposed for both buildings. These aim to stop pigeons from being able to roost or perch.

Museum officials are also bidding for cash to fund a similar defence system at Norwich Castle after the city council approved the plan. It is hoped these measures will protect the 11th century structure from further damage. The post and wire system was trialled and also checked by English Heritage before permission was granted, to try and ensure it will not ruin the appearance of the castle.

Stuart Garner, operations manager for Norwich museums, said: “We’ve had the pilot and we all agreed on the best way forward with English Heritage. We’ve got the majority of listed-building consent. Now, it’s preparing the documents for the funding.”

Mr Garner said it was Norfolk County Council’s responsibility to look after the attractions, but the city council has agreed to contribute 30pc toward the costs of pigeon-proofing them. No cost figures have yet to be made public.

Dr Will Fletcher, English Heritage’s inspector of ancient monuments in Norfolk, said it is difficult trying to protect historic buildings from pigeons.

But he said it involved pinpointing the ideal roosting locations and then installing new equipment without damaging the fabric of the building while ensuring it is “sympathetic” to its appearance.

Dr Fletcher said of the Norwich Castle plans: “It can all be taken away without damaging the fabric and leaving the castle intact.

“We will come back six to eight months or a year later down the line to see how effective it’s been.

“We are aware of the fact pigeons can be a problem elsewhere. We’ve talked about the issues, falconry and other options around the town but it pushes it from one place to another.

“There will be an ongoing issue and it’s really something for the people of Norwich to get involved in and we welcome their views.”

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Why Bird Control?

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

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Pest Controllers Withdraw Bids for Hannibal Pigeon Project

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

by Maggie Menderski (via Quincy Herald-Whig)

HANNIBAL MO. — The Hannibal City Council thought it had addressed a problem with pigeons.

Now it is being forced to address pigeon activism.

A large flock of pigeons roost atop the steeple of the Fifth Street Baptist Church in Hannibal, Mo. The City of Hannibal is looking for solutions to control the pigeons. (Image credit: H-W Photo/Phil Carlson)
Councilmen unanimously voted Oct. 16 to accept a bid from Reliable Pest Solutions to handle the local pigeon population with poisoned feed. Garry Allen, general manager of Reliable, estimated 500 pigeons live in Hannibal, and this surplus of birds causes a danger to the community’s property and health.

Since that vote, People for Ethnical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has sent a letter asking for the city to cancel the plan, and news sources nationwide have picked up on the story. The negative press has caused Reliable and another local company, Big River Pest Control, to withdraw their estimates from the project.

“If Hannibal officials have decided that poisoning is the best way to control the pigeon population, they simply haven’t done their homework,” PETA Senior Vice President of Cruelty Investigations Daphna Nachminovitch said in a press release. “It’s unconscionable that the city would subject birds to agony and its own citizens to the spectacle of having to watch birds convulse in the streets when humane, proven and cost-effective measures are readily available.”

PETA Senior Cruelty Caseworker Kristin Simon said the organization had received several emails expressing concerns for the pigeons and the community. Her letter to Hannibal Mayor Roy Hark states that the poison, Avitol, would impair the birds’ the nervous systems. After consumption, the pigeons suffer from disorientation, which leads to erratic flight and eventual death.

“Everyone has a big concern and a right to a big concern with such dangerous (chemical),” Simon said.

Since the media explosion, Allen has fielded dozens of phone calls regarding the poisoning method. Councilman Mike Dobson, who supported the method during the Oct. 16 city council meeting, has answered several calls as well, but the complaints he’s heard have come from outside Hannibal.

“I haven’t had one phone call with a local person against it,” he said.

The $3,560 bid from Reliable Pest Solutions would have required the city to gain access to local businesses and place poisoned feed on the top of buildings for the pigeons to eat. The poison would then have killed a small amount of the birds and startled the rest out of the city.

Allen said this method had been successful with local business owners in the past several years.

“The problem with it is that we didn’t keep it up,” Allen said. “You just can’t do it once and walk away.”

Pigeons, starlings and sparrows are the only three birds classified as pests. Because of birds’ habits and flocking tendencies, exterminators may diminish the population just as they would handle a surplus cockroaches or ants. Allen said pest control companies use poisons in some situations, but the products are not used carelessly.

“It doesn’t make sense for a responsible company to do something irresponsible,” he said. “You don’t make money.”

Dobson supported the poison method because he has seen it work firsthand for a company in Quincy. While Avitrol may shock the pigeon population out of Hannibal, Simon feared the poison could harm domestic animals as well as other birds and wildlife. Allen said only 10 percent of the feed would be poisoned. Dobson reasoned a 100-pound dog would have to eat a minimum of 15 pigeons before the poison in the feed would cause the dog to be sick.

“If I was in the business of killing people’s pets, then you don’t have a business,” Allen said.

The city now must pursue another solution. The U.S. Department of Agriculture had submitted a $6,700 bid for a pellet gun program, which would also involve pigeon mortality.

Dobson also has been in contact with a horse whisperer for pigeons. Horse whisperers adopt training and handling techniques for horses that are kinder and gentler than traditional methods. This person has offered to come speak with the birds at no cost to the city.

Simon recommended installing anti-roosting products such as bird spikes, slides and coils. She also suggested implementing statues of natural predators, creating a wildlife feeding prohibition, keeping garbage tightly contained and avoiding artificial sources of standing water.

Allen also had presented the city with a birth control plan for the pigeons. The process involves providing sterilizing feed to the population and then letting them die off naturally without being able to reproduce. This process requires more money to pay for continuous feeding. It also happens gradually, rather than in a couple weeks’ time.

During the Oct. 16 meeting, Dobson stressed nuisance and dangers pigeons cause to a city. Pigeon feces, which is acidic, wears away at roofs and damages cars, and it also can cause health-related issues.

Marion County Health Department Administrator Jean McBride declined to comment about potential health hazards pigeons might have on the community.

According to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene website, pigeon droppings pose a small health risk. Humans may contract histoplasmosis, cryptococcosis and psittacosis by inhaling particles from pigeon droppings. Cleaning pigeon droppings does not pose a serious health risk to most people, but avoiding direct contact with the droppings is recommended. People cleaning feces off a car or a windowsill should wear disposable gloves and washable clothing.

Allen said the pigeons have taken to Hannibal for its architecture and river access, explaining that they look for structures to sit on and ways to obtain food.

“It’s all about habitat, and they found a place they like,” he said.

Hark anticipates a solution would be discussed at the Nov. 6 council meeting.

“We’re still looking at what we can do, but we haven’t made a decision,” Hark said.

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Get Rid Of Seagulls

Tuesday, December 11th, 2012

Southern California Radio Host Calls for Much Needed Bird Control Action

Accumulated bird dropping have created quite the stink at La Jolla Cove, giving local San Diego residents something to complain about. Merchants say the smell from the accumulated bird droppings have been driving away business and sickening patrons. Recently, the New York Times reported on the incident, bringing the problem into the national light, generating embarrassing publicity or the scenic spot.
This problem can be easily fixed with the following bird deterrents from Bird-B-Gone:

Bird Traps: A “live” bird trap that captures pest birds for later release or relocation

Bird Chase: Super Sonic: A bird sound system that is ideal for keeping birds out of open, outdoor spaces

Bird Spikes: Spikes used to humanely prevent birds from landing on unwanted surfaces

Bird Net: A U.V. stabilized polyethylene mesh that keeps birds from entering unwanted areas, especially where people eat.

Bird Jolt Flat Track: Electric track system that produces a mild electrical shock when birds land on its surface, conditioning them to stay away from the area

Bird Spider: Made of stainless steel arms attached to a U.V. protected polycarbonate base that prevent birds from landing

The above bird problem can happen anywhere – the key is to have access to the proper bird control products to rectify the situation and ensure the birds do not return and the patrons remain happy and healthy.

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