Monday Roundup: Fair Flu

World record tractor parade • Should vehicles be taxed on the number of miles driven? • Vet shortage in Minnesota • Neil Armstrong's farm

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported late Friday that there had been 52 additional cases reported that day of H3N2v virus, which is being transmitted from pigs to humans. As of Friday, there had been 276 cases reported in 10 states. 

The “main risk factor for infection is exposure to pigs, mostly in fair settings,” the CDC reports. 

This disease is not spreading easily from person to person. “Most cases are occurring in children who are exhibiting pigs, or helping to exhibit pigs and have occurred after a lot of very close contact with pigs over a relatively long period of time,” said Dr. Joseph Bresee, Chief of the Epidemiology and Prevention Branch in CDC’s Influenza Division.

Kelley Snowden, who raises hogs in East Texas, tells us that farms engaged in agro-tourism are beginning to curtail visits, as farmers try to prevent the spread of the swine flu.

The cases reported Friday came from Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

Vehicle Miles Traveled Tax — There is discussion about a tax on the miles you travel. 

There would be a measure of how many miles a car travels, and then a tax assessed based on that number. As opposed to a gas tax, everyone (including Prius drivers) would pay for the upkeep of roads.

But what about rural residents? Wouldn’t they pay more? Should rural residents pay a smaller per-mile tax? 

Still some kinks to be worked out.

Food or Fracking? — Colorado farmers are competing for water with the oil and gas industry, DTN reports

There’s a lot of hydraulic fracturing taking place in agricultural regions. Both industries need water.

Akin Down By 9 Points — A new St. Louis Post-Dispatch poll finds that Rep. Todd Akin is down by 9 points to incumbent Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill in Missouri. 

Akin had been ahead of Sen. McCaskill by 5 points, 49 to 45 percent, before he talked about “legitimate rape” and pregnancy. Now McCaskill leads 50 to 41.

Akin is behind among women voters by almost 20 percentage points.

Down in the Bootheel — In 2011, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers blew three holes along the Mississippi River, flooding 140,000 acres of farmland in the Missouri Bootheel. 

Now the place is dried up with the drought and the Mississippi is at historically low water levels.

DTN’s Emily Garnett visits an area that is suffering from Mother Nature’s extremes.

Neil Armstrong’s Farm — The first man to walk on Earth’s moon spent his teenage years on a farm in Ohio. 

And after he retired, Armstrong spent the last 30 years of his life in a 19th-century farmhouse, raising cattle and corn.

Whooping Cough — There have been 715 cases of whooping cough in Colorado so far this year, the highest number since 2005. This is part of the worst outbreak of whooping cough in 50 years.

One of the causes is the failure of parents to get their kids immunized. The law in many states is too easy on those who, for whatever reason, won’t take this basic public health precaution, writes the Denver Post. 

Tractor Death at State Fair — A 75-year-old Kansas man was killed at the Nebraska State Fair when his 1936 John Deere tractor rolled on top of him as he tried to load the machine on a trailer. 

Charley DeWeese was from Thayer, Kansas. He was one of 1,139 people who brought their equipment to the fairgrounds to set a new record for the largest tractor parade.

Rural Veterinarians — The Minnesota Star-Tribune reports that “in some parts of rural Minnesota, there are too few veterinarians overseeing the health of too much livestock. And that, veterinarians say, increases the risk that animal diseases can spread.” 

Nationally, only 17 percent of vets work in food-animal medicine. There are too many students entering pet care in vet school — and a third of those who enter food-animal practice soon move to pets.

 

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