Compost Heap. Horse Manure. Pathogens.

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snipped-for-privacy@cam.ac.uk wrote:

Nick
Thanks for your thoughtful response.
No evidence that it is any more than a recording artifact at all, of course.
As I infer that you know well already public health and epidemiological data is bedevilled by recording artifacts; changes in notifiability criteria; changes in clinical diagnostic fashions and changes in the availability of experimental subjects to clinical examination. The recorded data do, indeed, show a very large increase in the apparent incidence of the minor enteric illnesses since the 1960s; as was predicted by Betty Hobbs all those years ago when the home food freezer first entered the consumer market in volume and home freezing preservation became fashionable.
I guess that most patients still don't consult their GP when hit by a simple D&V bug. Typically for the first 24hrs because they cannot, phyically, get to the Clinic and thereafter because they feel, obviously, sufficiently recovered not to need further treatment. I surmise that the public records may show that the increase has been in cases of illness perceived to be 'severe' rather than 'trivial'.
The original point was that gardeners would be prudent to be aware of the potential bacteriological hazards of the organic gardening fashion. It appears to be true, from the WHO published data, that those societies which practice, per force, strictly organic animal and human faecal soil fertilisation suffer high incidences of the enteric illnesses. The possible exception being China - where food is invariably cooked, and at high temperatures, and drinking water is invariably boiled - and has been for at least the last two thousand years.
Your secondary observation re change in population immune response is intriguing. Many allergies and allergy originated illnesses like asthma do, indeed, appear to have become much more frequent in the last thirty or so. Various estimates suggest that the frequency of childhood asthma has increased between one and two orders of magnitude over that time. It seems to have exactly paralleled the decline of tobacco smoking in the population over the same period, although it would, of course, be heretical to postulate any causal connection.
Returning to the exam question as originally set:-
1. Hot composting of material including horse and cow dung will probably at least pasteurise the material and thus kill off most/all the pathogenic bacteria. It may not destroy any Clostridial spores that have been formed in the compost; these will remain, potentially, dangerous for decades.
2. Cold composting will, almost certainly, not leave the compost safe in respect to the common pathogens. These may well die out in the compost over time.
Takeaway message, still, :-
A. Keep your AT course up to date;
B. Treat any organically raised garden produce as contaminated. Wash it thoroughly and cook it properly.
rjbl
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The string of illness and death due to contaminated leaf spinach was traced to a field across the street from a herd of cows. Wild pigs were running thru the cow pats and on into the field of spinach carrying the bacteria with them.
Ingrid Somewhere between zone 5 and 6 tucked along the shore of Lake Michigan on the council grounds of the Fox, Mascouten, Potawatomi, and Winnebago
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Just rinse my organic carrots please.
Here in the good ol' U.S.of A., we like our shit factory fresh. Whether it be rat or bat shit in our peanuts, or collateral damage from our CAFOs, we just suck it down. It costs money to run a clean operation. You can't expect a company to be into social welfare. They privatize the profits, and socialize the costs (doctor's visits).
http://www.agpolicy.org/weekcol/467.html
http://www.foodpoisonjournal.com/2009/05/food-policy-regulation/usda-sees -the-light-on-e-coli-o157h7-and-meat/
And on the humane treatment of animals front, http://www.grist.org/article/2009-07-14-obama-usda-e.-coli-meat /
--

- Billy

"For the first time in the history of the world, every human being is
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Nick wrote after Bob Hobden wrote:

I agree there are possibly some other pathogens in Horse dung but in practice they don't pose much of a risk to human health these days. Not worth worrying about provided you use normal sensible measures like washing hands etc.
--
Regards
Bob Hobden
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And the Hendra Virus which is extremely virulent.
But I use lots of horse manure and I don't bother composting it at all.
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Grin :-)
http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvrd/spb/mnpages/dispages/nipah.htm
"The natural reservoir for Hendra virus is thought to be flying foxes"
"Only three human cases of Hendra virus disease have been recognized."
Regards, Nick Maclaren.
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Yep
Hmmmm CDC. An American site.
I wonder who it was that wrote: "A lot of such rubbish is written by Merkins, who manage to make Little Englanders look intelligent. You need to be able to judge which authors have Clue and which don't." ;-P
But since you quote the CDC, their article also says "humans became ill after exposure to body fluids and excretions of horses infected with Hendra virus"

At last count, three people have died of Hendra Virus.
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I did. The CDC is a respected organisation, which doesn't mean that its pronouncements are gospel. The Merkins I was referring to are a different class of Web-making pest, as undesirable as RSM.

Let's all start panicking now :-)
Regards, Nick Maclaren.
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wrote:

What do Regional Sales Managers have to do with anything?

Do many people in the UK show signs of "Mad Cow Disease"?

--

- Billy

"For the first time in the history of the world, every human being is
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Wild Billy wrote:

No, and they never did, although it was a tragedy for those families who lost loved ones.
It was just one of those hyped-up extraordinarily rare diseases which "professors" who should know better (but obviously didn't) pontificated about in a purely self-publicising manner. The main pathogenic effect of MCD was to sell newspapers.
--
Jeff



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That's utter tripe - to make an awful pun!
The government had covered it up for so long, and its properties were such, that the 'worst plausible' scenario was that it would become the dominating cause of death in the UK and reduce the national life expectancy by a decade or more. Yes, THAT bad.
And, precisely because of its properties, it wasn't possible to refine the estimates of its seriousness for several years. Nobody knew whether it would be negligible (as it seems to be) or approach the 'worst plausible' scenario. Even now, we aren't quite certain that it won't become a hundred times more serious than it is at present, though it is unlikely.
Furthermore, such a disease had been predicted by the government's scientific advisors, who repeatedly refused to support relaxing the animal feed processing regulations. The Whitehall mandarins then replaced them by a more docile (and possibly more ignorant) set, relaxed the regulations and created a new disease.
Regards, Nick Maclaren.
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wrote:

I think you made the OP's point. The worst plausible scenario was not plausible.
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You're wrong. It was horribly plausible, given what was known at the time.
Regards, Nick Maclaren.
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wrote:

Bottom line for me is try not to eat any thing that eats it own.
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bovine_spongiform_encephalopathy
Bill
--

Garden in shade zone 5 S Jersey USA

http://prototype.nytimes.com/gst/articleSkimmer /
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dont eat anything that has been FED its own.
wrote:

Somewhere between zone 5 and 6 tucked along the shore of Lake Michigan on the council grounds of the Fox, Mascouten, Potawatomi, and Winnebago
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snipped-for-privacy@cam.ac.uk wrote:

To twist the original thread name, your reply is bullshit. "Horribly plausible"? To consider what might occur there is Definite, Probable, Possible, and Plausible. It was plausible that the earth was flat until proved otherwise. I suppose it was plausible that the moon was made of green cheese before the facts were examined carefully.
I suggest you go back and read some of the "scientific" comments made at the time. I had access to all the main medical and general (such as "Nature") journals at the time (1996) and could not believe what I was reading in them. I was ashamed to be called a scientist. The term "junk science" appeared a dozen of so years earlier, and many of the comments were junk science in spades. After reading several of the "plausible" scenarios I made the very simple decision to continue eating beef - even mince. I put my mouth where my money was to turn a saying. I did really well as the price of beef fell. In fact, I was wrong in my original posting - the main pathogenic effect was on unfortunate famers. I haven't checked the figures, but I would guess that more beef farmers have died through stress or suicide as a result of financial worries caused by MCD than those people who have died from MCD.
Here is a comment from the first news archive in http://www.mad-cow.org/00/archive_frame.html 'Few understood that when it comes to safety in food, the perception of risk is not mathematical. It's psychological. One young man who gave up beef explained his decision this way: "They say the risk of getting the disease is one in a million or about the same as winning the lottery. And that may be true. But every week I play the lottery."'
Someone will win the lottery, and someone will die of MCD, but the figures are heavily in favour of the lottery. In over 13 years since MCD appeared, there have been only 200 deaths or so WORLDWIDE from it, with just under 170 in the UK.
Hopefully, we will both be contributing to this newsgroup in 25 years time or so. One of us will have been proved wrong. It won't be me.
--
Jeff



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This is getting ridiculous, so I shall not continue after this.

That is close to trolling. No, I didn't draw that conclusion, and I didn't even imply it. I said that it was much more aggressive than scrapie, which it was. If I recall, the VERY few human cases were a lot more aggressive than the few cases where 'normal' scrapie had been observed in cattle.
Obviously, no conclusion could be drawn, most especially not the one you seem so keen on (i.e. that it was not going to be aggressive in humans). The real experts said that they didn't have a clue.

Because I said what I meant and I meant what I said. I am not going to give a seminar on parameter estimation, but educated guesses are what experts use when they have to make an estimate based on very incomplete data. It's a perfectly valid statistical technique, though a bit beyond most scientists.

I didn't, nor did any expert I read. I could respond to you by:
So why draw only the best conclusions? It's like multiplying all degrees of error together to come up with the best possible outcome.
But a more informed answer is that people who have to take serious decisions use the appropriate analysis (based on game theory), where the risk is the probability of an outcome multiplied by its cost. Only politicians and other ignoramuses rely solely on the probability.
In particular, the cost of the worst plausible scenario combined with a laisser faire attitude (as you are saying should have been adopted) was horrific. The probability of the worst case was low, but the risk of the combination was huge.

No. Because it would mean that only a small proportion of people were infected. Even in the early days, we knew that it was a few years (about 5?) from first symptoms to death. If the first symptoms didn't show for 30+ years in most people, it could mean that the majority of the UK was infected.
Yes, a cure MIGHT be found. But relying on fairy godmothers isn't something that any competent person does.

Aargh! That paper was TEN BLOODY YEARS after the action was taken! Yes, BY THEN, we knew that the nightmare scenario was implausible. But why do you claim that was obvious in 1986-1988?
Given what we know now, if the government had not been pressured into acting until 1998, the problem would be something like ten times worse (not a major issue). But, BASED ON THE INFORMATION AVAILABLE IN 1987, we had NO reason to believe the best plausible scenario over the worst plausible one (or conversely). And, if the latter had been the case, a ten year delay would have been CATASTROPHIC.
Regards, Nick Maclaren.
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As I teach my students "a scientist who is speaking outside his area of expertise is no better than a layman". MCD is in my area of expertise, and MCD lacked several characteristics necessary to become a pandemic.
People tend to think of viruses and bacteria as static or "simple". But microbes spent most of evolution, some 3.5 billion years evolving those genes that survive to this day, those same genes with which all higher life forms are built. Because bacteria and viruses have a single genome (and many viruses are RNA viruses anyway) they mutate at extremely high rates. For this reason there are always small numbers of them that are on the "cutting edge" of infectivity if not ahead of host immunity. They are inherently unstable. MCD is an infectious protein (prion). It does not rapidly mutate and transmission is difficult within species and very difficult outside of species. It is called other names in other animals and the only place it is rampant is in mink because after taking the fur the body of the mink is processed into food for growing mink. The only place it USED to be rampant was in those small populations of humans who ate the brains of family members for ritual reasons. Now that has stopped so has Kuru.
Ingrid
wrote:

Somewhere between zone 5 and 6 tucked along the shore of Lake Michigan on the council grounds of the Fox, Mascouten, Potawatomi, and Winnebago
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Not to get into your debates here, but I would like some info/leads on the groups where this was rampant. TIA Gunner
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New Guinea See: Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies by Jared Diamond (Amazon.com product link shortened)
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- Billy

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