May 31, 2007 – A TB Scare – Formerly Lake Okeechobee – Melting Himalayas.
May 31, 2007 – A day of environmental and health news – starting with a TB scare, the first one in some 40 years. The scare occurred when Atlanta personal-injury lawyer Andrew “Drew” Speaker flew from Atlanta, Georgia to Paris, France and on to Greece and then Italy before returning on a flight from Prague, Czech Republic to Montreal, Canada, where he crossed over the border and back into the United States while infected with multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention believed at the time that Speaker was suffering from extensively drug-resistant TB (XDR-TB). The incident sparked a debate in Congress on the failure of federal customs agents to stop him. Upon Speaker’s return to the United States, the CDC placed him under involuntary isolation (similar to quarantine) using a provision of the Public Health Service Act. With this action, Speaker became the first individual subjected to a CDC isolation order since 1963. The job today was to find who else Speaker came in contact with.
Meanwhile, in Florida. A statewide drought that has bared portions of Lake Okeechobee’s bottom has also been a boon to archaeologists, exposing human remains, boats and other finds that could date back hundreds of years.
Thousands of pieces of pottery, five boats and scores of human bone fragments have been discovered as the lake — the second-largest freshwater one in the continental U.S., behind Lake Michigan — reached a historically low level.
It is the first time in years some areas have been exposed, prompting archaeologists to scour the lakebed.
And some alarming news from The Himalayas – Greenpeace presented evidence in China that pointed to real trouble in the Himalayas in the coming decades. Reports coinciding with a UN study indicated the Himalayan glaciers were steadily receding and could evaporate completely within the next 30 years, threatening future supplies of drinking water for up to 1/6th of the world’s population.
All that cheery news – and so much more, as reported by The CBS World News Roundup for May 31, 2007.