LGBTQ Latino voters ‘show up and show out’ for 2020 election

first_img– Advertisement – According to the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law, 21% of LGBTQ people are not registered to vote, 22% of registered LGBTQ voters are Latino, and 13% are Black. Familia TQLM says these numbers indicate there is a lot of work to be done when it comes to reaching trans and queer Latino communities.Familia TQLM Campaign and Organizing Director Úmi Vera told Prism that the work the organization is doing is “unique.” Familia TQLM uses direct action tactics in advocating for the abolition of ICE. As state violence ramped up under the Trump administration, Vera said the organization decided to launch Vota Jota instead of standing on the sidelines for the 2020 presidential election.- Advertisement – “I’m the state director for a civic engagement organization, but I’m also a drag performer so everything I do is with this queer lens. For me, drag has always been political and drag is another organizing tool that I can successfully use to reach young voters,” Arevalo said. “I can’t vote, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have a role to play in this election.” Of increasing concern to organizers is the voter suppression that LGBTQ people of color may face at the polls this year—especially if their identification doesn’t match their gender identity. In this election, there are 35 states that have laws requesting or requiring voters to show some form of identification at the polls. Arizona has one of the strictest laws in the nation. This is why Poder Latinx has focused heavily on know-your-rights trainings.“There are layers to being a LGBTQ voter. It’s not always as simple as showing up at your polling place. This is why we want to make sure that LGBTQ people understand how to navigate this very unjust system,” Arevalo said. This is also a concern for Siembra NC. The organization is best known for its advocacy on behalf of Latino immigrants in North Carolina and for its organizing against anti-immigrant sheriffs, but the group’s new Queer Caucus aims to turn North Carolina into a place of power for queer Latino community members. Cris Batista is a member of Siembra NC’s Queer Caucus and as part of the Vota Jota campaign, she and other members have focused on voter registration and voter education, especially as it relates to the intimidation Spanish speakers may face at the polls. North Carolina is a purple state where 28% of the region’s 890,000 Latino residents are eligible to vote. Batista told Prism there is little outreach in these communities and in rural areas like Alamance County, there is an “outright anti-Latine atmosphere.” Voting as a Latino person in a hostile area gets more complicated if a person presents as queer, Batista said.“We are working hard to make people feel safe if they are speaking Spanish at the polls and are queer presenting,” Batista said. “The other goal is to really support our undocumented queer community and to let them know that we understand voting is a privilege they don’t have, and we are going to use this privilege to vote with them in mind as we fight for a better future.” QLatinx Executive Director Christopher Cuevas told Prism that in the rare instances that campaigns seek to engage Latino voters, a “blanket identity gets wrapped around the community,” one that erases LGBTQ people, Afro-Latino populations, and other groups. “We’re not a monolith. We’re very diverse—that includes our cultural practices, ethnicities, the languages we speak, and the issues that matter to us,” Cuevas said. “Latinx voters are the largest voting minority in the U.S. We have a lot of untapped power, and trying to hispander to us isn’t going to work. It’s going to take more than talking about immigration. Health care, housing, basic income, the lack of these things is killing our communities.” In Florida, QLatinx has focused on engaging Latino communities through literature drops, door-knocking campaigns, phonebanks, and text message campaigns. It’s “painstaking work,” the executive director told Prism, and so are the inroads the organization is trying to build with national organizations that focus on civic engagement. The goal, Cuevas said, is to get these organizations to go beyond “rainbow narratives” and begin to advocate more widely for criminal justice reform, access to reproductive health care, and to shift their understanding of immigration as a fundamental LGBTQ issue.The Vota Jota organizers who spoke to Prism all reported feeling uneasy headed into the presidential election, especially in light of the Supreme Court being stacked with President Donald Trump’s appointees and swirling concerns about a potential coup. Even if former Vice President Joe Biden wins the election, Cuevas said the work cannot stop. “I’m thinking a lot about where all of this momentum will go after the election. Like AOC said, there’s no going back to brunch if Biden is elected. We can maybe get some takeout, but there is no going back to ‘normal,’” Cuevas said. “Biden and Harris are not going to be our saviors. They may stop the bleeding, but this country has a lot to fix and we have to continue mobilizing our communities. We need to show up and show out—not just on Election Day, but every day.”  Tina Vasquez is a senior reporter for Prism. She covers gender justice, workers’ rights, and immigration. Follow her on Twitter @TheTinaVasquez. Prism is a BIPOC-led nonprofit news outlet that centers the people, places and issues currently underreported by our national media. Through our original reporting, analysis, and commentary, we challenge dominant, toxic narratives perpetuated by the mainstream press and work to build a full and accurate record of what’s happening in our democracy. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. This includes the Arizona chapter of Poder Latinx, North Carolina’s Siembra NC, and Florida’s QLatinx, which formed after the Pulse Nightclub massacre that took the lives of 49 people, most of whom were members of the queer Latino community. The strategies for engaging voters have varied significantly in each of these battleground states, but all seek to speak directly to LGBTQ communities. Poder Latinx has historically focused on civic engagement, but this year the organization partnered with ArizonaDrag.com as part of the Vota Jota campaign. What emerged was the Drag Voter Squad, a group of Arizona-based drag performers working in coalition to produce voter education materials. As part of these efforts, Poder Latinx has also organized webinars, know-your-rights toolkits, streaming debate parties, and phonebanking events the organization called “drag-a-thons.” The Arizona state director for Poder Latinx Adonias Arevalo is a queer and undocumented drag performer. In fact, Arevalo was the first Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipient to compete in the Miss Gay America drag pageant. – Advertisement – “Our ultimate goal is to empower trans and queer immigrant folks. We want them to know how to register to vote and how to have conversations about the importance of voting with their loved ones who are able to vote,” Vera said. “The way I see it, we are integrating electoral strategy into our radical abolitionist politics.” The Vota Jota campaign does come with a list of demands: universal basic income; universal health care for all; housing; abolishing Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the police; and ending the criminalization of trans-queer workers, including sex workers, drag performers, day laborers, and service and retail industry workers, among others. “An incredible amount of people are not eligible to vote in the Latinx community because they have been disenfranchised through the criminal justice system, and our people are disenfranchised because of their immigration status, which leaves millions of our parents, family members, and beloved queer and trans siblings unable to vote,” Vera said. “Organizing around this election is just another strategy in our toolbox, and it is allowing us to strengthen our movement by building this campaign with queer and trans organizations and organizations that do civic engagement work.”- Advertisement –last_img read more

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Khloe Kardashian, Tristan Thomson Dress as Cleopatra, Mark Antony: Pics

first_imgQueen and king of Halloween! Khloé Kardashian and Tristan Thompson channeled their inner royals as Cleopatra and Mark Antony.“👑❤️Halloween 2020 ❤️👑 Mommy and Tutu make me look good in these pics 😁,” Thompson, 29, wrote via Instagram on Monday, November 2.- Advertisement – The family’s Halloween celebration came days after the Revenge Body host and the athlete took their little one to the Nights of Jack Halloween experience on Tuesday, October 27.Earlier in the month, the couple jetted off to a private island as part of Kim Kardashian’s 40th birthday party crew. They were also spotted getting flirty at Kim’s surprise birthday bash, which was featured on the October 21 episode of KUWTK.Us exclusively confirmed in August that the Strong Looks Better Naked author and Thompson rekindled their romance after breaking up in February 2019 following Thompson’s cheating scandal.Since getting back together, the pair have spent a lot of time together and with their daughter.“They have been acting like a married couple and are so comfortable with each other,” a source exclusively told Us in September. “Tristan has been being a great dad. Things are really coming around and Khloé is hopeful about their future.”Last month, a second source told Us that “Tristan and Khloé are doing really good,” adding that “Tristan has been really good to her recently.”Scroll down to see the trio’s golden Halloween costumes. The Cleveland Cavaliers player shared a series of photos of himself dressed as the Roman general alongside his girlfriend, 36, and their 2-year-old-daughter, True.The Good American cofounder embodied Mark Antony’s lover, Egyptian ruler Cleopatra, while True matched her parents as a royal toddler.“♔ Cleopatra ♔♔ Mark Antony ♔♔ Royal Highness True ♔,” Kardashian captioned her own group of photos from the holiday, noting all of their gilded outfits were custom-made by Bryan Hearns.- Advertisement – The Keeping Up With the Kardashians star’s ensemble included a gold bra top, high-waisted skirt, gold cape, heels and gem-filled headdress. She topped off her look with the ruler’s iconic black hairstyle.The NBA player’s costume matched Kardashian’s and had a chest plate, metal skirt, crown and warrior helmet.True posed alongside her parents in a gold dress that featured angel-wing sleeves.- Advertisement – – Advertisement –last_img read more

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With No Evidence of Fraud, Trump Fails to Make Headway on Legal Cases

first_imgUpdated Nov. 6, 2020, 7:47 p.m. ET The former Republican Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich, echoed the president’s son on Fox News, calling for the jailing of poll workers and more involvement from Attorney General William P. Barr.But in the days since the election, Mr. Barr and the Justice Department have been largely silent. After initially echoing Mr. Trump’s warnings about electoral fraud, Mr. Barr muted his statements, and Mr. Trump complained to aides about the department’s lack of action.But a supportive outside group, True the Vote — one of the most prominent promoters of the false narrative that “voter fraud” is rampant in the United States — sought to help Mr. Trump build his cases. On Friday, it announced it had formed a $1 million “Whistleblower Defense Fund” to “incentivize” witnesses to step forward with charges of malfeasance. Officials with the Biden campaign said they would meet every legal challenge Mr. Trump brought but said they were confident that none of the cases they had seen so far seemed likely to loosen Mr. Biden’s tightening grasp on the presidency.“The Republican legal claims are utterly baseless and have failed and will continue to fail in the courts,’’ said Bob Bauer, a senior adviser to the Biden campaign. “They serve no purpose other than to echo Donald Trump’s discredited and shameful attack on the democratic process.”In a statement, the Republican Party’s chief counsel, Justin Riemer, said, “We are focused on protecting the integrity of the vote and ensuring all legally cast ballots are counted,” but he was not made available for further comment on the particulars of the party’s legal strategy.The intensive Trump effort was the endgame of a long-planned contingency in which the president planned to challenge any possible loss through claims that the voting system was “rigged” against him. The campaign has been abetted by a robust pro-Trump media ecosystem, with Mr. Trump’s own social media accounts at its center, amplifying his false claims.As the legal push has failed to make substantial headway this week it has taken on an urgent, at times desperate, tone. In Pennsylvania, the two top Republicans in the legislature called on Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, to conduct “an immediate audit” of the election. No state was seeing more legal activity than Pennsylvania, where the Trump campaign and local Republicans had brought at least a half-dozen lawsuits immediately before and after Election Day.The case that had the potential to affect the most votes was the one filed at the Supreme Court on Friday seeking an order that would force election officials in Pennsylvania to separate mailed ballots that arrived after Election Day from other mailed ballots. In its emergency application, the party acknowledged that the secretary of state’s office had already ordered election officials to do so but said it had no way to know if they had complied. President Trump’s bellicose pledge to fight the outcome of the election in the courts crashed on Friday into skeptical judges, daunting Electoral College math and a lack of evidence for his claims of fraud.On a day that began with vote tallies in Georgia and Pennsylvania tipping in Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s favor, Mr. Trump’s campaign declared, “This election is not over,” as the Republican National Committee announced it had activated “legal challenge teams” in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan and Pennsylvania. And the Trump forces named a new general to lead the effort, the hardened conservative political combatant David Bossie.- Advertisement – On Thursday, Eric Trump, one of the president’s sons, said on Twitter, “I truly hope the @FBI/@DOJ engages immediately.” But even if the court were to take the case and rule in favor of the Republicans to wipe out all of the ballots in question — votes from mail ballots have overwhelmingly gone to Mr. Biden — it would not affect the current vote totals, which do not include the ballots that came in after Election Day. By early Friday evening, Mr. Biden had a lead of about 17,000 votes in Pennsylvania.Other suits in Pennsylvania sought to knock out votes that were the result of a decision by Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar to allow county officials to give voters a chance to fix mistakes in their rejected mail-in ballots or to cast provisional votes instead.A federal judge dismissed one of those cases on Friday, in Montgomery County outside Philadelphia, two days after implying during a hearing that he viewed the effort as a move to disenfranchise voters who were following state instructions.But even if that case had succeeded, it would have affected only 93 votes. Similarly, in Michigan, a judge dismissed a Republican suit challenging the vote count in the state, noting the counting was already effectively over and dismissing some of the evidence as based on hearsay.Frustrated supporters of the president like the talk radio host Mark Levin called on Republican legislatures in states including Pennsylvania to use their constitutional authority to send a pro-Trump delegation of electors to the Electoral College regardless of the popular vote. But none of the dozen or so lawsuits they had brought in battleground states appeared to be gaining any traction in the courts. And in any case, none seemed likely to give Mr. Trump the edge he would need in vote counts in the states that will determine the outcome.In seeking to foment widespread doubt about the legitimacy of the election, Mr. Trump and his surrogates seemed less focused on substantive legal arguments that could hold up in court than on bolstering the president’s political narrative, unsupported by the facts, that he was somehow being robbed of a second term. The most high-profile step of the day came when Pennsylvania Republicans asked the U.S. Supreme Court to step in and require election officials in the state to segregate ballots that arrived after Election Day to keep them from being counted toward the total in the largest and most critical of the swing states.- Advertisement – But the move was almost entirely for show: Pennsylvania is already segregating those ballots, counting them separately and is not including them in the announced vote totals. The secretary of state, over the objections of Republicans and Mr. Trump, has said they can be counted if they arrived by 5 p.m. on Friday, in line with a state court ruling. A state official said those ballots number in the thousands but not tens of thousands.Their lack of progress in stopping the count or making a persuasive case for large-scale ballot fraud left Mr. Trump and his team increasingly reliant for political salvation on recounts — which appeared likely to take place in Georgia, Nevada, Arizona and Wisconsin but which rarely result in big swings in vote counts.The Trump effort may be getting a boost from state legislatures in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, which are both controlled by Republicans. In Wisconsin, Robin Vos, the speaker of the State Assembly, directed a legislative committee to “use its investigatory powers” to conduct a review of the election, again raising the specter of voter fraud without offering specific evidence.- Advertisement – At the same time, allies of the president openly suggested an extreme move: to use baseless allegations of Democratic malfeasance to pressure Republican-controlled state legislatures in key states to send pro-Trump electors to the Electoral College regardless of the results of the popular vote. Republicans have been unsuccessfully fighting the secretary of state’s decision to allow election officials in Pennsylvania to count mail-in ballots that arrived at their offices by Friday as long as they had postmarks from Election Day or before. The Supreme Court had twice passed up opportunities to rule on the dispute, though the case is still technically pending, giving the justices the opportunity to weigh in if they saw reason to do so. Asked during a news briefing on Friday if state Republicans would do so, the majority leader of the Pennsylvania senate, Jake Corman, replied, “We want to stay in the tradition that the popular vote winner wins the election.”Even if the state Republicans could make such a move legally — the legislature “cannot simply ignore the popular vote,” said Attorney General Josh Shapiro of Pennsylvania — it was an extreme example of the lengths to which some Trump supporters seem willing to go.In several states Mr. Trump was challenging state voting rules, effectively seeking to nullify votes cast in accordance with official guidelines.Republicans in Nevada asked the Justice Department late Thursday to open an investigation into voter fraud involving 3,000 ballots, a move Democrats said was based on “entirely fabricated” claims.The Justice Department declined to address the matter publicly, but its guidelines generally preclude opening criminal investigations into election-related matters until results are completed.Local Republicans included the allegation in a suit they filed in federal court seeking a change in the way Clark County, Nev., is conducting its count. A judge dismissed the case on Friday evening, when the vote count showed a 22,000-ballot lead for Mr. Biden.Michael S. Schmidt, Katie Benner and Adam Liptak contributed reporting. – Advertisement –last_img read more

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Hakeem Jeffries Wants Democrats to Take a Deep Breath

first_imgParty leaders have promised a “deep dive” into Tuesday’s results to better understand how they lost five seats and counting and failed in nearly every pickup opportunity they believed was in reach.- Advertisement – That begins, he said, by “crushing the virus” and sending “direct relief” to American workers and business owners still reeling from the pandemic-battered economy.“That should be our priority, and will be on Day 1,” he said.Facing the likelihood of a Republican Senate, it will not be easy. Mr. Jeffries said Democrats believed there would be opportunities for them to partner with Mr. Biden and Republicans in the Senate to pass laws related to prescription drug pricing, infrastructure spending, and changes to sentencing and prison laws. Nov. 9, 2020, 11:33 a.m. ET Mr. Jeffries’s own theory of the case is that Democrats’ “For the People” message is the right one. The best way to win back traditionally Democratic voters peeled away by the millions by Mr. Trump and to bridge the divisions within his party’s own ranks, he argued, is to relentlessly focus on kitchen-table issues like health care costs, prescription drug pricing, defeating Covid-19, creating jobs and addressing racial inequality.“It is unlikely, absent the bully pulpit of the presidency, that someone who has mastered the art of grievance politics can have a same hold of on a significant part of the country that Donald Trump demonstrated,” he said. “So as we move forward, Democrats have a real chance to win back some of these working-class voters by making clear our implemented ideas will fix the broken American contract and improve their quality of life.”- Advertisement – Updated – Advertisement – Mr. Jeffries said he was most concerned about why the public opinion polling that guides campaigns at nearly every level systematically failed to capture the extent of support not only for Mr. Trump, but other Republicans on the ballot.“One of the things that we should take a look at is, is the polling broken, or is the polling only broken when Donald Trump is on the ballot,” Mr. Jeffries said, noting that public opinion surveys had much more accurately predicted the 2018 midterm results. “Because if it is the latter, then there are not too many adjustments to be made going forward because Trump will be nowhere to be found electorally in 2022.” – Advertisement –last_img read more

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Joe Biden getting the Cabinet he wants

first_img– Advertisement – Consider Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey, who is retiring rather than running again in 2022, and has been one of the few to say “yeah, Biden won.” In an interview Wednesday, Toomey said that Cabinet picks are a “shared responsibility” between the president and the Senate majority. Which is bullshit. The president picks his Cabinet. “So I think people who are well outside of the political mainstream don’t belong in really important, senior-level, Cabinet-type posts. And that’s why that will be an ongoing discussion, I think, between a Republican Senate and Joe Biden,” Toomey added.Then there’s Sen. Ron Johnson, the Republican from Wisconsin, who doesn’t even think Biden should be getting the intelligence briefings he is entitled to as president-elect—and who is far too stupid to be in charge of a committee like Homeland Security, which he is, indeed, in charge of! “In general, from what I’ve seen, intelligence briefings are really not worth a whole hell of a lot,” he told reporters. “Based on what we see in the SCIF, they don’t have much value.” If nothing else, we need to take the Senate back so this bonehead doesn’t do any more harm to national security.- Advertisement – So, yeah. Let’s get Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock elected!last_img read more

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Salmonella cases trigger almond recall

first_img The FDA said it was working with other health authorities to trace the source of the potentially contaminated products. About 57 people in Wheaton, Ill., became ill in February after eating basil and mesclun prepared by a restaurant, the FDA said in an alert to consumers. Twenty of the cases were confirmed as cyclosporiasis. The same month, 38 people in Irving, Tex., fell ill after eating basil and mesclun at a local restaurant, and 16 cases were confirmed as cyclosporiasis. May 24, 2004 (CIDRAP News) – Two outbreaks of gastrointestinal illness caused by the parasite Cyclospora may have been associated with raw basil and “mesculin [mesclun]/spring mix salad” served at restaurants in Illinois and Texas, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Cyclosporiasis, an infection of the small intestine, causes watery diarrhea with frequent, sometimes explosive, bowel movements, the FDA said. Other symptoms include loss of appetite, weight loss, stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, muscle aches, low-grade fever, and fatigue. Symptoms usually appear about a week after eating contaminated food. Cyclosporiasis was little-known until the 1990s, according to a 2000 report in Clinical Infectious Diseases. In 1996 a multistate outbreak in the United States and Canada was traced to Guatemalan strawberries, demonstrating that the illness is spread by food, according to the report.center_img See also: The FDA said the infection can be treated with antibiotics. People experiencing the above symptoms after eating basil and mesclun or spring mix salads should consult a physician and notify their local health department, the agency said. May 21 FDA news releasehttp://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/2004/ucm108304.htmlast_img read more

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To fight SARS, China moves to knock civets off menus

first_img After civets were found to carry the virus, restaurants were barred from serving them for several months in 2003. Thousands of the animals were seized from farms and wildlife markets and killed last January after a few new cases of the disease occurred in southern China. The newspaper Beijing Daily reported that the ban was part of new rules issued Nov 1 by China’s Health Ministry, according to the Associated Press and Reuters. The rules ban “the slaughter, cooking, and selling of wild animals like civet cat and advocate civilized dietary habits,” a Reuters story said. SARS emerged in late 2002 in Guangdong, where civets are considered a delicacy. The disease spread from there to Hong Kong in February 2003 and then on to many other countries around the world. The ban came about 3 weeks after a report that Chinese government scientists had concluded that civets are the main animal source of the SARS virus. An Oct 11 Reuters report quoted the SARS Defense and Cure Scientific Group as saying, “Research proves that the civet cat is the primary animal source of the human SARS virus, with the ability to spread the virus.” But the group stopped short of saying civets are the only source of the human virus. The announcement also followed an Oct 23 report that 70% of a sample of 103 civets from southern China’s Guangdong province carried the virus, according to Reuters. The report said no civets from northern or eastern China were found to be infected.center_img Nov 3, 2004 (CIDRAP News) – To guard against SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome), the Chinese government has banned the killing and cooking of civets, which have been carriers of the SARS virus in southern China, according to news reports yesterday. See also: Jan 16, 2004, CIDRAP News story, “WHO sees more evidence of civet role in SARS”last_img read more

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FDA clears single test for 12 respiratory viruses

first_imgEditor’s note: This story was revised Jan 8 to correct information about the location of the test’s manufacturer. Jan 7, 2008 (CIDRAP News) – A single test that can identify up to 12 different respiratory viruses, including three kinds of influenza, from one sample has won the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) approval.The test, called the xTAG Respiratory Viral Panel (RVP), is the first that can detect and distinguish influenza A subtypes H1 and H3 and also detect influenza B, the FDA said in announcing the approval on Jan 3. Influenza A is the most severe type of flu in humans and has been the cause of pandemics, the agency noted.The new test panel is also the first test for human metapneumovirus (hMPV), which was first identified in 2001, the FDA said.The test is made by Toronto-based Luminex Molecular Diagnostics, part of Luminex Corp, headquartered in Austin, Tex. In a news release, the company called the xTAG RVP “a ground breaking test that, with a single patient sample, can assess the presence or absence of 12 viral targets and provide qualitative results in a few hours.”Conventional testing for the same viruses requires a number of separate tests and can take several days, the company said. The new product will help physicians provide appropriate treatment and prevent inappropriate antibiotic use that has helped spawn resistant microbes, the statement said.The FDA said, “The xTAG panel is the first FDA-cleared test for infectious respiratory disease viruses that uses a multiplex platform, allowing several tests to be processed using the same sample.”The test uses polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to amplify viral genetic material in samples from patients, according to Jeremy Bridge-Cook, vice president of Luminex Molecular Diagnostics. The FDA said the test uses secretions from the back of the throat.The test uses tiny color-coded beads, or microspheres, that are coated with reagents specific to material from particular viruses, according to information on the Luminex Web site.”There’s a different color-coded bead for each virus in the test,” Bridge-Cook told CIDRAP News. “The Luminex instrument can identify the different color-coded beads and whether the viral target was amplified. If any of the beads is positive, that indicates whether the viral target was present in the sample.”The use of PCR to reproduce viral material “speeds up the usual process of detecting and identifying respiratory viruses, which can take up to a week,” Daniel D. Schultz, MD, director of the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health, said in the news release.The FDA said viruses identified by the xTAG RVP, in addition to the three forms of influenza and human metapneumovirus, include:Respiratory syncytial virus subtypes A and B, both of which are leading causes of infant pneumonia and bronchiolitis and often contribute to the development of long-term lung diseaseParainfluenza 1, 2, and 3—all leading factors in croup and the common coldRhinovirus, the most common viral infective agent in humans and another cause of the common coldAdenovirus, a cause of respiratory tract infections often similar to strep throat or tonsillitisThe 12 viruses covered by the test account for more than 85% of respiratory viral infections, the Luminex statement said.The company said the test’s ability to identify influenza subtypes H1 and H3 will be important in efforts to detect quickly any emerging pandemic flu virus. The test will make it possible to sort H1 and H3 viruses, which make up the vast majority of influenza A subtypes, from rare forms of influenza A. “This way, the few samples that do test positive for influenza A but cannot be identified as H1 or H3 subtypes can be flagged for further investigation by the CDC or local public health labs,” the company said.Bridge-Cook said the time needed to run the test will vary, but “I’d say maybe 6 hours might be a typical time.”As for the cost, he said he couldn’t give a specific figure, but added, “From a ballpark standpoint, basically the number is in the low hundreds [of dollars], as opposed to thousands of dollars, with respect to what it costs the healthcare system as a whole when the test is run.”Bridge-Cook said the test requires specially trained personnel, so it’s likely to be used mainly in hospital laboratories. But he said many hospital labs take samples from outpatient clinics, so the test would not be limited to use on inpatients.The FDA said that because the test is specific to the 12 viruses listed, it should be used with other diagnostic information, such as patient data, bacterial or viral cultures, and x-rays.See also: Jan 3 FDA news releasehttp://www.fda.gov/bbs/topics/NEWS/2008/NEW01770.htmlJan 3 Luminex news releasehttp://phx.corporate-ir.net/phoenix.zhtml?c=79403&p=irol-newsArticle&ID=1091216&highlight=last_img read more

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Outbreak strain of Salmonella found in jalapeno

first_img David Acheson, MD, associate commissioner for foods at the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), said at a media briefing today that the jalapeno sample was obtained from Agricola Zaragoza, Inc., a small company based in McAllen, Tex., that received jalapeno peppers from a farm in Mexico. However, he said investigators haven’t yet determined where the peppers were contaminated with Salmonella enterica serotype Saintpaul and that an FDA team is at the farm now. Jul 21, 2008 (CIDRAP News) – Federal authorities announced today that investigators working at a Texas produce facility found Salmonella that genetically matches the nationwide outbreak strain on a jalapeno pepper. FDA officials said they could not reveal where Agricola Zaragosa sent its peppers after receiving them from Mexico, because the investigation is ongoing. However, they said investigators focused on the company on the basis of information that came from some of the large case clusters that emerged later in the outbreak. He said the CDC is still getting reports of new cases and that the outbreak is considered ongoing, though the numbers reported each day are declining. They released little information about other produce items Agricola Zaragoza handles. However, Steve Solomon, deputy director of the FDA’s office of regional operations, told reporters that another item the company receives from Mexico is tomatillos, which are similar to tomatoes but are green and have husks. He said officials didn’t know yet if any Salmonella Oranienburg infections have been reported recently in North Carolina, the AP report said. Texas officials have not received any reports of illnesses related to the strain. “We need to look at distribution records, and that’s happening as we speak,” Acheson said. “We need to push the investigation hard to answer those types of questions.” Based on what the FDA is calling a “significant break” in the investigation, federal officials are now warning all consumers to avoid eating fresh jalapeno peppers and products that contain them. The FDA isn’t limiting its warning to jalapeno peppers from specific sources, Acheson said, because officials aren’t sure they if tainted peppers had an opportunity to cross-contaminate jalapenos from other sources at points along the production and distribution chain. The warning does not include processed, cooked, or pickled jalapeno peppers. Robert Tauxe, MD, MPH, deputy director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) Division of Foodborne, Bacterial and Mycotic Diseases, said despite the new findings and the change in the consumer advisory, officials still have not exonerated tomatoes of a possible role earlier in the outbreak. He said investigators are conducting more detailed case-control studies, particularly in the southwestern states that reported many Salmonella infections. Tauxe said the outbreak has expanded to 1,251 cases in 43 states, the District of Columbia, and Canada. So far, 229 patients have been hospitalized, and the latest illness onset remains at Jul 4. Two deaths are possibly linked to the outbreak; both were older men from Texas who had chronic illnesses.center_img Jul 18 CDC update on Salmonella outbreak “One sample doesn’t give us the whole story, but it allows us to focus on the production chain,” Acheson said, adding that Agricola Zaragoza is recalling all of its jalapeno peppers. Jul 18 CIDRAP News story “Salmonella found in peppers, but no outbreak link so far” See also: Acheson said the warning about Serrano peppers remains in place for high-risk groups, including infants, those with impaired immune systems, and elderly people. Joe Reardon, director of the department’s food and drug protection division, told the AP the strain, confirmed in North Carolina and Texas, is linked to Grande Produce, a supplier based in Hidalgo, Tex., that has recalled its jalapeno peppers, Serrano peppers, and avocadoes. Jul 19 Grande Produce press release In other developments, an official from North Carolina’s agriculture department said additional testing at a Charlotte food supplier where Salmonella was found in two produce samples revealed that the strain is Salmonella Oranienburg, not the one responsible for the nationwide outbreak, according to a Jul 19 Associated Press (AP) report.last_img read more

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