EDM Monday Briefing: Synthetic Mosquitoes, Brain-Eating Amoeba, Anthrax, Delta Outage
Emergency and disaster management briefing for August 8, 2016: FDA findings put genetically engineered mosquitoes one step closer to being used in the U.S., South Carolina authorities report a death from a brain-eating amoeba, anthrax resurfaces in Siberia, Delta Air Lines experiences a system-wide computer failure, Alabama approves funding to fight Zika, and Flint's disaster declaration is about to expire.
- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) completed its environmental review of Oxitec Ltd.'s genetically engineered (GE) mosquitoes (OX513A) and found no significant impact on the environment. This takes the potential field trials of the OX513A to the next level. There will now be a vote on a projected testing site of the OX513A in November.
- The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) announced yesterday that a South Carolina resident contracted a brain-eating amoeba. The extremely rare infection of the brain is caused by the amoeba Naegleria fowleri. An 11-year-old girl in the state reportedly contracted the infection while swimming in the Edisto River on July 24 and later died.
- There are reports of anthrax illnesses in Siberia due to thawing permafrost resurfacing infected reindeer carcasses that died decades earlier. Temperatures in parts of Siberia above the Arctic Circle have reached as high as 95 degrees Fahrenheit this summer, which is nearly 20 degrees F above normal.
- Delta Air Lines experienced a system-wide computer failure early today that grounded tens of thousands of passengers around the globe. Delta confirmed the outage but is currently unable to say when the problem will be fixed.
- Alabama Governor Robert Bentley announced the use of emergency funds to combat Zika virus in the state. The Alabama Department of Public Health requested $250,000 in funding, mostly for mosquito control, and Bentley approved the request.
- The disaster declaration for Flint, MI that President Barack Obama signed in January to help the city deal with its drinking water crisis will expire on August 14. Despite the expiration, both the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) stated that they will continue providing support in Flint's recovery efforts.
- A new wildfire in Southern California known as the Pilot Fire reportedly burned through 1,500 acres in just 8 hours and is zero percent contained. The fast-moving fire near Silverwood Lake in the San Bernardino Mountains already brought on both evacuation orders and road closures.
- The National Weather Service (NWS) released a report that scrutinized its own performance during the historic flooding that occurred in South Carolina in October 2015. The analysis included 40 recommendations based on issues that occurred during the gathering and dissemination of information.
- A network and content security firm published a detailed report warning about cyber attacks in Brazil in association with the Rio Olympics, which are now officially underway. The firm said to be on the lookout for additional attacks, most notably advanced threat techniques on data, as the total volume of attacks should be high throughout the Summer Games.
- Tropical Storm Earl made landfall in eastern Mexico, which triggered landslides and resulted in the deaths of at least six people. The six fatalities were not Earl's first casualties, as the tropical storm brought about nine deaths in the Caribbean last week.
- Officials said bomb blast at a hospital in the city of Quetta in southwest Pakistan killed at least 53, but casualty numbers are quickly growing as details emerge. Pakistani police have said they suspect the bomb was detonated by one or more suicide attackers, but it is currently unclear who the attackers were.
- Flash Floods in Macedonia left at least 22 dead and 4 others missing this weekend. Torrential rains triggered flash floods in the capital of Macedonia, which forced more than 1,000 people to be evacuated from their homes.