October 2012 Current Events: Disasters & Science News
Here are the key events in Science and Disasters news for the month of October 2012.
Meningitis Outbreak Spreads throughout the U. S. (Oct. 4): An outbreak of meningitis has killed five people in the United States. In addition, 30 people have meningitis in six states. The outbreak has been linked to a contaminated steroid drug. The drug is administered to patients as a spinal injection for back pain and has been recalled. (Oct. 8): The meningitis outbreak continues to spread. The number of people who have died rises to eight while 97 others are sick in 23 states. It is estimated that around 13,000 people have been exposed to the contaminated steroid. The steroid has been traced back to the New England Compounding Center in Framingham, Mass., which has shut down. The center has not only recalled the contaminated steroid, but all of its products. (Oct. 13): Another death is reported from meningitis linked to the contaminated steroid drug. This brings the death toll to 15. Currently, 197 people are ill in the outbreak, which has become a major health concern in the United States. (Oct. 25): The death toll from the fungal meningitis outbreak due to the tainted steroid injections has increased to 24. The number of meningitis cases linked to the steroid has also increased to 312 in 17 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Five joint infections caused by the same contaminated steroid have also been reported. (Oct. 28): Massachusetts shuts down another pharmacy, Infusion Resource, after an inspection finds shaky conditions on the sterility of its products. Located in Waltham, Infusion Resource voluntarily surrenders its license after the inspection. So far, 25 people have died and 344 others have become ill in the nationwide meningitis outbreak.
Hurricane Sandy Wreaks Havoc (Oct. 24): Sandy, which blew into the Caribbean as a tropical storm, is upgraded to hurricane status as it hits Cuba, Haiti and Jamaica. A category 2 hurricane, Sandy leaves 44 dead in the region. (Oct. 26): Hurricane Sandy blows through the Bahamas. As it approaches Florida and the east coast of the U.S., it is downgraded to a category 1. (Oct. 27): Although it is downgraded, the storm actually picks up energy when it collides with a midlatitude trough (a storm system that causes severe winter weather). The storm system grows as it barrels up the East Coast, spreading to some 1,000 miles wide. (Oct. 29): Hurricane Sandy makes landfall in Atlantic City, N.J., and is re-classified as a post-tropical cyclone. New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut are hardest hit by Sandy, and about 8 million people lose power as a result of the storm. So far Sandy has caused at least 100 deaths and an estimated $30 billion in damages, making it the second costliest hurricane in the United States, behind Katrina.