Where Have All the Bees Gone?
Silk’s superpowers
Got Milk? How?
Frogs and Toads
Salamanders and Newts
Poison Dart Frogs
The History of Meow
Bee Heat Cooks Invaders
Walks on the Wild Side
Mice sense each other's fear
Seeing red means danger ahead
Chimpanzee Hunting Tools
Chemistry and Materials
Sweeeet! The Skinny on Sugar Substitutes
Supersonic Splash
Nanomagnets Corral Oil
Music of the Future
Hitting the redo button on evolution
Fingerprint Evidence
Dinosaurs and Fossils
The Paleontologist and the Three Dinosaurs
Hunting by Sucking, Long Ago
Early Birds Ready to Rumble
E Learning Jamaica
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
E Learning in Jamaica WIN PRIZES and try our Fun Animated Games
Unnatural Disasters
Earth's Poles in Peril
Springing forward
Food Web Woes
Flu river
The Best Defense Is a Good Snow Fence
Finding the Past
A Volcano's Deadly Ash
Decoding a Beverage Jar
A Long Haul
Bull Sharks
Electric Eel
Food and Nutrition
Moving Good Fats from Fish to Mice
A Taste for Cheese
The Color of Health
GSAT English Rules
Adjectives and Adverbs
Finding Subjects and Verbs
Order of Adjectives
GSAT Exam Preparation Jamaica
Preparing for the GSAT Exam
GSAT stars reap scholarship glory
Mastering The GSAT Exam
GSAT Exams Jamaica Scholarships
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
GSAT stars reap scholarship glory
GSAT Mathematics
Play for Science
42,000 students will sit for the GSAT Exam in two weeks
Monkeys Count
Human Body
Gut Germs to the Rescue
Kids now getting 'adult' disease
The tell-tale bacteria
Sloth Bears
Expert report highlights the importance to parents of reading to children!
Raise a Lifelong Reader by Reading Aloud
How children learn
Black Hole Journey
Road Bumps
The Particle Zoo
White fuzzy mold not as friendly as it looks
Sweet, Sticky Science
Flower family knows its roots
Space and Astronomy
Pluto's New Moons
A Dead Star's Dusty Ring
A Puffy Planetary Puzzle
Technology and Engineering
Model Plane Flies the Atlantic
Reach for the Sky
Algae Motors
The Parts of Speech
Adjectives and Adverbs
What is a Verb?
What is a Preposition?
Flying the Hyper Skies
Reach for the Sky
Middle school science adventures
Watering the Air
Earth's Poles in Peril
Either Martians or Mars has gas
Add your Article

Flu river

What if the solution to one problem causes other problems down the road? That may be the case in the ongoing struggle to fight the flu. Flu season is almost here, which means more and more people may be taking Tamiflu in the months ahead. Tamiflu is a popular anti-flu drug that treats both seasonal flu strains and the new H1N1 flu, an unpredictable disease better known as swine flu. But this increased use of Tamiflu may be introducing new problems. A team of Japanese scientists recently studied three rivers in Japan and found them to be contaminated with Tamiflu’s active ingredient, oseltamivir carboxylate or OC. They found the same contamination in the water discharged from local sewage plants, water that ends up in those rivers. People excreted the drug in their urine, and water discharged from the sewage plants carried it to the rivers. Sewage treatment plants are designed to remove germs and solids from the wastes dispensed by household toilets, but many drugs can get through. OC is one of those escaping drugs. OC in the water may be a serious problem for birds — and for people. Here’s why: The flu, short for influenza, is caused by a virus, a tiny organism that invades living cells and turns them against the body. There is not one flu-causing virus; there are many. These many viruses are constantly evolving, or changing in order to survive. They find new ways to infect people and animals, and every year new kinds of flu show up. Birds are natural carriers of many flu-causing viruses. If a bird drinks water polluted with OC, that bird may be able to fight off the types of flu that Tamiflu treats. As a result, new flus — flus that can’t be cured by Tamiflu — may start to develop in the bird. Once a drug-resistant flu grows in the bird, that bird can pass it on to other animals. This new, stronger flu could eventually start infecting people. And that could mean big trouble, since Tamiflu would not help people fight this stronger flu.. The Japanese study was led by Gopal Ghosh, a scientist at Kyoto University. Ghosh and his team collected water from two places: sewage treatment plants and the rivers that carried away the treated wastewater dispensed by the plants. They first collected samples in December of last year, when the flu season was starting. They collected more water samples in February, when the flu was bad, and collected a third set of samples later. The scientists found OC in the sewage samples every time. They found a higher concentration in the second set of samples, from February. That’s when the flu was at its worst, and 1,738 cases were recorded in Kyoto. At the same time, in the second set of samples taken in February, the scientists found OC in the river water as well. The OC did not show up in the river in the first and third set of samples. Scientists have known for years that sewage treatment plants do not remove OC from the water. Jerker Fick, an environmental chemist at Umeå University in Sweden, published a study two years ago that showed that most water treatment plants removed “zero percent” — or none — of the OC. In fact, Fick says, almost all the Tamiflu ingested by a human being will end up in the environment as OC. And when the OC comes out of the sewage treatment plants, the birds will be ready. Ducks, for example, love to swim in the warm waters just downstream of those plants during the coldest months — during flu season. “I saw it myself,” Fick says.

Flu river
Flu river

Designed and Powered by™