EDM Wednesday Briefing: Elizabethkingia in Illinois, Drinking Water Problems on Islands
Emergency and disaster management briefing for April 13, 2016: Another case of Elizabethkingia surfaces, this time in Illinois, a new study finds that many islands around the globe may soon have drinking water shortages, and a new report says that the FBI paid hackers a one-time fee to unlock the San Bernardino iPhone.
- The Illinois Department of Public Health announced yesterday one confirmed case of Elizabethkingia in the state -- a resident who died earlier in 2016. This raises the death toll from the rare infection to 20: Wisconsin reports 57 confirmed cases and 18 deaths, Michigan reports a single confirmed case that resulted in death and now Illinois has a single confirmed case that also resulted in death. The source of the outbreak remains a mystery.
- Island nations around the globe are no stranger to climate change, as concerns of global sea level rise are all too real. Now, these islands may have another worry to add to the list: dwindling drinking water. A new study found that up to 73 percent of islands in the world could be impacted by substantially more arid conditions by the middle of the century.
- New reports surfaced yesterday that the FBI paid hackers to unlock the iPhone of one of the San Bernardino shooters. The FBI reportedly paid a one-time fee to hackers who exploited at least one previously unknown security flaw in order to unlock the phone. The U.S. government is now weighing whether to disclose the flaw or flaws to Apple.
- Ride-sharing company Uber revealed yesterday that it had provided data on 469 users and more than 12 million riders to federal authorities between July and December 2015. Uber said that it received 415 requests from law enforcement agencies, and provided information in almost 85 percent of the cases. The company provided information on trips, trip requests, pickup and drop-off areas, fares, vehicles, and drivers.
- Hawaii Governor David Ige extended the state's emergency period for combating mosquito-borne illnesses this week, which will lengthen the state of emergency by an additional 60 days. The emergency proclamation gives the state access to the Major Disaster Fund, which will help it combat the growing threat of mosquito borne illnesses such as dengue fever, Zika virus and chikungunya in the coming months.
- Airlines have a 2020 deadline to meet for reducing or offsetting carbon emissions, as specified by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). One way for airlines to offset emissions is to take part in the REDD+ initiative, a collaborative initiative on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation. Delta Airlines, United Airlines, and others already take part in the initiative, and other airlines are likely to follow.
- The North East Independent School District (ISD) in San Antonio, TX was recently hit with a ransomware attack. The district reported three separate ransomware incidents over the past two months that, all told, affected 20 campuses and two departments within the school district.
- A former scientist at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission was sentenced to 18 months in prison for plotting a cyber attack on federal government computers. Charles Harvey Eccleston allegedly targeted more than 80 Energy Department employees in Washington with malicious emails in an attempt to infect the Energy Department computer network.
- Flint, MI officials said yesterday that they will begin flushing water automatically out of fire hydrants in the city as part of the process of fixing the city's lead-contaminated drinking water problem. Flint officials will be collaborating with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) during the flushing process to assess and optimize chemical levels in the water. The program is expected to continue through the summer.
- In response to the record-breaking snowfall that occurred in Pennsylvania this past winter, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC) released an updated After-Action Review (AAR) last week. The AAR put together by the PTC, along with reviewing current practices, offered up new recommendations for improvement.