Japan to withhold Mad Cow tests
TOKYO - The Japanese government will stop publicizing the results of preliminary tests for mad cow disease to avoid unsettling consumers already worried about the safety of beef, an official said yesterday.
Sales of beef have plunged since the first case of mad cow disease was confirmed last month in Japan, and health officials have tried to reassure a jittery public with extensive screening of the nation's cattle for signs of the brain-wasting disease. But authorities drew fire last week when they announced that a second cow suspected of having the disease had been found in a wholesale market in Tokyo - only to tell the nation hours later that final tests on the animal's brain tissue had turned up negative.
To avoid similar false alarms when it begins nationwide testing today of all cattle that are slaughtered for beef, the Health Ministry will announce findings only after final tests confirm an infection, said Narihiko Kawamura, an official with the ministry's Health Services Bureau.
Health Minister Chikara Sakaguchi had previously said that the public would be informed whenever an animal suspected of having mad cow disease - which has been linked to its fatal human variant, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease - was discovered. A nationwide survey of more than 1,100 people released by the mass-circulation Asahi newspaper yesterday found that one in four Japanese has stopped eating beef.
E. coli spread at tailgate party
MADISON, Wis. - At least 11 college students and a 3-year old boy were infected with E. coli bacteria, apparently at a pancake tailgate party before a football game, university officials said yesterday.
They began feeling ill after the Oct. 6 University of Wisconsin-Madison game and were diagnosed with a serious form of E. coli, university epidemiologist Craig Roberts said. Three of the students were hospitalized and two have since been released. The third was in good condition yesterday, Roberts said.
At least 1,000 people attended the university-sponsored party. Health officials said the source of the E. coli was probably not the food, since only a small percentage of the people who attended became sick.
"If 10 people dropped their forks on the floor where there had been animals, it might be as simple as that, but we may never know," he said. The pavilion where the event took place is used for animal shows at the university.
E. coli begins with abdominal cramps, fever, severe and bloody diarrhea and can progress to kidney failure, pancreatitis and a variety of other potentially life-threatening problems. People can be infected through tainted food, water or animals.
Tucson police unaware of less-lethal options during riot
TUCSON, Ariz. - Tucson police told a panel reviewing the response to an April 2 riot that officers weren't aware of variations among less-lethal rounds they used to break up the melee. ''We treated less-lethal rounds like they were all the same thing when, in fact, there is a continuum of options,'' Tucson Police Department Assistant Chief Bob Lehner said Tuesday during a meeting with the Citizens Police Advisory Review Board. Police used too many compressed bean bags fired from shotguns, a more severe form of less-lethal munitions, and fewer sting balls that splatter from grenades but don't do as much bodily damage as other types of less-lethal rounds, Lehner told the Tucson Citizen.
Officers did not make good decisions in choosing munitions because they lacked experience with the weapons, he said, adding that if there is another riot, police will stay within the lower levels of less-lethal rounds.
A 19-year-old University of Arizona student filed a $3 million claim against the city, contending he lost an eye to a bean bag the night of the riot. The city has refused to settle the claim.
The advisory review board met to hear from members of a Fourth Avenue riot panel, which reviewed TPD's response to the riots that followed the University of Arizona basketball team's championship loss to Duke University.
The riot panel was critical of how police planned for the crowds and the police response to the rioting after the game.
Police Chief Richard Miranda said the panel's recommendations are being folded into a new crowd-control policy for the department. Police will get more training and try to work better with the community before the nights that could produce unruly crowds. He said the department benefited from the process.
''There was a lot of pressure put on the department, and I think that pressure was good,'' Miranda said.