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  • Northbound Lanes Of I-95 Closed Due To Serious Crash Near Viera

    • Northbound Lanes Of I-95 Closed Due To Serious Crash Near Viera

    • CDC Warns Of Deadly Candida Auris Fungus Spreading In Hospitals, Healthcare Facilities

      FORT MYERS, Florida – The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a warning that Candida auris (C. auris), a fungus that is resistant to most antifungal drugs and can cause severe infections with high death rates, spread at an alarming rate in U.S. healthcare facilities in 2020-2021.

      Equally concerning was a tripling in 2021 of the number of cases that were resistant to echinocandins, the antifungal medicine most recommended for the treatment of C. auris infections.

      In general, Candida auris is not a threat to healthy people. People who are very sick, have invasive medical devices, or have long or frequent stays in healthcare facilities are at increased risk for acquiring Candida auris.

      The CDC has deemed Candida auris as an urgent AR threat, because it is often resistant to multiple antifungal drugs, spreads easily in healthcare facilities.

      “The rapid rise and geographic spread of cases is concerning and emphasizes the need for continued surveillance, expanded lab capacity, quicker diagnostic tests, and adherence to proven infection prevention and control,” said CDC epidemiologist Dr. Meghan Lyman, lead author of the paper.

      Candida auris fungus has been spreading across the US since it was first reported in 2016, with a total of 3,270 clinical cases and 7,413 screening cases reported through December 31, 2021.

      The number of clinical cases has increased every year since 2016, with a sharp rise during 2020-2021.

      There has also been an increase in case counts for 2022. From 2019 to 2021, 17 states identified their first-ever case of Candida auris.

      Clinical cases increased from 476 in 2019 to 1,471 in 2021 nationwide, while screening cases tripled from 2020 to 2021, totaling 4,041.

      It is important to conduct screening to prevent the spread of Candida auris by identifying patients carrying the fungus so that infection prevention controls can be used.

      Researchers attribute the rise in Candida auris cases to a variety of reasons, including poor general infection prevention and control practices in healthcare facilities. There may also be an increase in case counts due to enhanced efforts to detect cases, such as increased colonization screening.

      Investigations suggest that Candida auris‘s spread may have worsened due to strain on healthcare and public health systems during the COVID-19 pandemic.

      Symptoms of Candida auris Fungus

      Most people who get serious Candida infections are already sick from other medical conditions.

      Candida auris is still rare in the United States. People who get invasive Candida infections are often already sick from other medical conditions, so it can be difficult to know if you have a C. auris infection.

      The most common symptoms of invasive Candida infection are fever and chills that don’t improve after antibiotic treatment for a suspected bacterial infection.

      Only a laboratory test can diagnose C. auris infection. Talk to your healthcare provider if you believe you have a fungal or healthcare-associated infection.

    • 3D Printed Rocket Launch From Florida Set For March 22

      CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida – The launch of the world’s first 3D printed rocket is set to liftoff from Launch Complex 16 in Cape Canaveral, Florida at 10 p.m. Eastern Time on Wednesday, March 22, 2023, after two scrubbed launch attempts.

      The launch window remains open until 1 a.m. Eastern Time on March 23.

      Relativity Space’s first launch of Terran 1, called “GLHF” (Good Luck, Have Fun), is the first orbital attempt by Relativity Space and will not include a customer payload.

      3D Printed Rocket

      As a two-stage, 110ft. tall, 7.5 ft. wide, expendable rocket, Terran 1 is the largest 3D printed object to exist and to attempt orbital flight.

      Relativity’s first Terran 1 vehicle is 85% 3D printed by mass but the company’s goal is to ultimately reach 95% 3D printed.

      Terran 1 has nine Aeon engines in its first stage, and one Aeon Vac in its second stage.

      Like its structure, all Relativity engines are 3D printed and use liquid oxygen (LOX) and liquid natural gas (LNG), which Relative Space claims is not only the best for rocket propulsion, but also for reusability, and the easiest to eventually transition to methane on Mars.

    • Cat-Eating Monitor Lizards Are Invading Florida

      FORT MYERS, Florida – Nile monitor lizards that can grow to over 5 feet long and weigh close to 15 pounds are spreading through Florida.

      The invasive species are known in their native Africa to prey or scavenge for a variety of small animals, including domestic cats.

      In areas where Nile monitors are abundant in Florida, they have also attacked small pets and livestock such as chickens.

      Nile monitors are skillful climbers and adept swimmers that can remain underwater for 12-15 minutes.

      The Nile monitor’s high reproduction rate, diverse diet, and ability to travel over land and in fresh and saltwater allows for the potential establishment throughout Florida, particularly in coastal areas dominated by mangroves or salt marshes.

      In the Sunshine State, Nile monitors could impact populations of nesting birds (especially burrowing owls), gopher tortoises, nesting sea turtles, nesting American crocodiles, and other species listed as threatened or endangered.

      Florida Distribution

      Nile Monitor Lizard Florida distribution map. CredtI: EDDMapS. 2023. Early Detection & Distribution Mapping System. The University of Georgia – Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health.

      Nile monitors are established in Lee and Palm Beach Counties, although observations have occurred throughout the state including multiple observations in Broward County. South Florida’s extensive canal system may provide dispersal corridors for the species, which tend to inhabit water edges.

      Researchers believe populations of Nile monitors in Florida stem from intentional and unintentional releases from animals in captivity. Nile monitors may escape confinement by pushing off the tops of cages or by using their sharp claws to tear through screens.

      They may be intentionally released if they become difficult to feed, manage or handle or if they are deemed unfit or too sick to sell in the reptile trading industry. Nile monitors may also escape from facilities destroyed by hurricanes.

      “Nile monitors eat a wide variety of food items including small mammals, reptiles, fish, amphibians, and more,” said biologist Jenny Ketterlin Eckles. “Because their diet is so varied, we are assessing whether this species may have an impact on Florida’s native wildlife.”

      Report Sightings of Monitor Lizards

      The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission cautions that members of the public should not attempt to capture the Nile monitor themselves. Monitors are not innately aggressive but like any wild animal, they may defend themselves if aggravated or threatened.

      Instead, FWC asks that the public take a picture of a suspected Nile monitor and immediately report it online to IveGot1.org or by phone at 888-Ive-Got1 (888-483-4681).

      The monitor’s body color can range from light yellow to dark olive or brown. They have a pattern of light yellow markings on the back, which appear as bands or stripes closer to the head and tail.

      FWC says that other lizards can easily be mistaken for Nile monitors, including green iguanas, spiny-tailed iguanas, curly-tailed lizards, and other reptiles.

      “Color and pattern variation is pretty common, so the most effective way to verify the species is to take a picture of the animal and submit it along with a report of your observation,” said Eckles.

    • Horntail Snail Invades Florida, Spreads Deadly Rat Lungworm Disease

      MIAMI, Florida – The horntail snail, an invasive species that can spread rat lungworm disease which can cause death, coma, or paralysis in humans and animals, has been positively identified by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services in Miami-Dade County.

      The horntail snail (Macrochlamys indica) was first discovered by a gastropod enthusiast in Coconut Grove who sent the unusual snail to the University of Florida for identification. This is the first time this snail has been found in the United States.

      After investigative inspections, the snail was found at more sites in Miami-Dade County.

      “The horntail snail is an invasive pest with the potential to cause serious health implications for Floridians,” stated Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried.

      “Our Division of Plant Industry and essential industry partners are continuing to monitor this threat and working towards a plan to stop the horntail snail’s spread into other areas of Florida.”

      The horntail snail is a well-known pest in India and feeds on a wide variety of commercial crops, including lettuce, beans, yams, chrysanthemums, etc.

      They are voracious feeders that are most active at night and after rainfall.

      The snail has a delicate amber-colored shell that measures about the size of a dime.

      The horntail snail is named for the pointed fleshy protrusion (caudal horn) at the tip of its tail. When relaxed, the horntail snail has a flap of flesh that extends backward onto or around the shell, which differentiates it from other terrestrial snails in the state.

      The snail prefers cool damp locations, so they may be found under pots or in moist soil. During dry, hot weather, they may burrow in the ground.

      Deadly Rat Lungworm Host

      As with other terrestrial snails in Florida, the horntail snail has the potential to be an intermediate host of rat lungworm, a parasitic nematode that can cause meningitis in humans.

      Snails ingest rat lungworm larvae by eating infected rat feces. When a rat eats an infected snail, the larvae penetrate the rat’s intestine and enter its circulatory system, which transports them to the brain.

      There, they develop into immature worms, re-enter the circulatory system, and travel to the rat’s pulmonary artery where they mature and reproduce.

      When the new larvae hatch, they are coughed up and swallowed by the rat and pass through its feces, completing the life cycle.

      In a survey of 18 counties, nearly 23 percent of rats, about 16 percent of rat fecal samples, and nearly 2 percent of land snails tested positive for the nematode, according to UF researchers.

      Keep Children And Pets Away From Snails

      Humans can ingest the parasite by consuming infected snails or infected frogs and crustaceans, which can also pick up the nematode.

      Infection with rat lungworm can also cause meningitis in animals, as well as limb weakness or paralysis, neck pain, and central nervous system problems.

      Rat Lungworm Symptoms

      Clinical signs of infection in adults include headache, stiff neck, fever, vomiting, nausea, and paralysis of the face and limbs. The most common symptoms of infection in children are nausea, vomiting, and fever.

      While the fatality rate of infection in humans is low, the parasite can cause eosinophilic meningitis if it becomes trapped and dies in the brain, and severe infections can cause coma or death.

    • Florida Man Wins $1 Million From Monopoly Scratch-Off

      ORLANDO, Florida – The Florida Lottery announced that Lazaro Aviles, 56, of Deland, claimed a $1 million top prize from the $20 MONOPOLY DOUBLER Scratch-Off game at the Lottery’s Orlando District Office. Aviles chose to receive his winnings as a one-time, lump-sum payment of $798,985.00.

      The Volusia County man purchased his winning ticket from The Rite Track, located at 899 South Spring Garden Avenue in Deland.

      The retailer will receive a $2,000 bonus commission for selling the winning Scratch-Off ticket.

      The $20 MONOPOLY DOUBLER Scratch-Off game launched on July 4, 2022, and features more than $493 million in cash prizes, including eight top prizes of $5 million.

      The game’s overall odds of winning are 1-in-3.02.

    • AAA: Florida Gas Prices Jumped 15 Cents Last Week

      WEST PALM BEACH, Florida – Florida gas prices jumped 15 cents per gallon last week, but relief may soon be on the way, according to AAA.

      On Sunday, the state average for regular unleaded was $3.46 per gallon. That’s 12 cents less than this year’s high of $3.58 per gallon.

      “There were significant losses in the oil market last week which should enable gas prices to move lower again,” said Mark Jenkins, spokesman, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “The failure of two U.S. banks raised concerns of a global recession that could eventually hamper fuel demand.”

      The U.S. price of oil dropped 13% last week, for a total loss of 17% over two weeks. Friday’s settlement of $66.74 per barrel was the lowest since December 2021.

      But the gasoline market did not take quite as big of a hit, likely because strong springtime demand coupled with refinery maintenance season and the switch to summer gasoline is serving as somewhat of a buoy.

      Regardless, gasoline futures dropped 24 cents through the past two weeks, which is an indicator that pump prices should move lower, unless fundamentals rebound this week, AAA forecasts.

      The most expensive metro markets in Florida are  West Palm Beach-Boca Raton ($3.63), Naples ($3.52), and Port St. Lucie ($3.51).

      The least expensive metro markets are Crestview-Fort Walton Beach ($3.17), Panama City ($3.18), and Pensacola ($3.22)

      Ways to Save on Gasoline

      Combine errands to limit driving time.

      Shop around for the best gas prices in your community.

      Pay with cash. Some retailers charge extra per gallon for customers who pay with a credit card.

      Remove excess weight in your vehicle. Every 100 pounds taken out of the vehicle improves fuel economy by 1-2 percent.

      Drive conservatively. Aggressive acceleration and speeding reduces fuel economy.

      AAA GAS PRICE AVERAGES
      (Price per gallon of regular unleaded gasoline)
      Sunday Saturday Week Ago Month Ago One Year Ago
      National $3.446 $3.449 $3.472 $3.413 $4.262
      Florida $3.455 $3.459 $3.314 $3.305 $4.197
      Georgia $3.223 $3.229 $3.265 $3.220 $4.188
      Click here to view current gasoline price averages
    • Gerber Good Start Baby Formula Recall Due To Bacteria Contamination

      Perrigo is issuing a voluntary recall of certain lots of Gerber Good Start SootheProTM Powdered Infant Formula in the U.S., that were manufactured at the Company’s Gateway Eau Claire, Wisconsin manufacturing facility from January 02, 2023, to January 18, 2023.

      Perrigo says that this product is being recalled out of an abundance of caution due to the potential presence of Cronobacter sakazakii.

      “Importantly, no distributed product has tested positive for the presence of this bacteria, no adverse events have been reported and no other products manufactured at this facility or any other of Perrigo’s facilities are affected by this recall,” Perriga stated in its  U.S. Food and Drug Administration recall notice.

      Cronobacter sakazakii is a bacteria commonly found in the environment. In most people, it causes no symptoms but in some, particularly premature infants, infants under 2 months of age, or infants with weakened immune systems fever, poor feeding, excessive crying, or low energy as well as other serious symptoms can occur.

      This product is sold at retailers across the U.S. Consumers who purchased the product after March 5, 2023, should look for the following Lot Codes and “use by” dates, which can be found on the bottom of the package.

      Gerber® Good Start® SootheProTM 12.4 oz:
      300357651Z – USE BY 04JUL2024
      300457651Z – USE BY 05JUL2024
      300557651Z – USE BY 06JUL2024
      300557652Z – USE BY 06JUL2024
      300757651Z – USE BY 08JUL2024
      300857651Z – USE BY 09JUL2024
      301057651Z – USE BY 11JUL2024
      301057652Z – USE BY 11JUL2024
      301157651Z – USE BY 12JUL2024

      Gerber® Good Start® SootheProTM 30.6 oz:
      301357652Z – USE BY 14JUL2024
      301457652Z – USE BY 15JUL2024
      301557651Z – USE BY 16JUL2024

      Gerber Good® Start® SootheProTM 19.4 oz:
      301557652Z – USE BY 16JUL2024I

      Consumers can request refunds for impacted products and find more information about Gerber Good Start by contacting the Gerber Parent Resource Center on behalf of Perrigo at 1-800-777-7690 anytime 24/7. Consumers with any health-related questions should contact their healthcare provider.

      No other lot codes are impacted by this recall. Any consumers who purchased products with matching codes should discontinue use and dispose of the product.

    • Amazon To Lay Off 9,000 More Jobs After Cutting 18,000 Jobs In January

      Amazon announced on Monday that the company will eliminate 9,000 more jobs in addition to the 18,000 jobs that were cut in January.

      “Some may ask why we didn’t announce these role reductions with the ones we announced a couple months ago,” Amazon CEO  Andy Jassy wrote in a memo to employees.

      “The short answer is that not all of the teams were done with their analyses in the late fall; and rather than rush through these assessments without the appropriate diligence, we chose to share these decisions as we’ve made them so people had the information as soon as possible. The same is true for this note as the impacted teams are not yet finished making final decisions on precisely which roles will be impacted. Once those decisions have been made (our goal is to have this complete by mid to late April), we will communicate with the impacted employees (or where applicable in Europe, with employee representative bodies). We will, of course, support those we have to let go, and will provide packages that include a separation payment, transitional health insurance benefits, and external job placement support.”

      Amazon plans to eliminate about 9,000 more positions in the next few weeks—mostly in AWS cloud services, PXT, Advertising, and Twitch.

      “For several years leading up to this one, most of our businesses added a significant amount of headcount, Jassy added. “This made sense given what was happening in our businesses and the economy as a whole. However, given the uncertain economy in which we reside, and the uncertainty that exists in the near future, we have chosen to be more streamlined in our costs and headcount. The overriding tenet of our annual planning this year was to be leaner while doing so in a way that enables us to still invest robustly in the key long-term customer experiences that we believe can meaningfully improve customers’ lives and Amazon as a whole.”

    • Florida Lottery Launches New Logo and Midday Draw for FANTASY 5 Game

      The Florida Lottery has announced the introduction of a new midday draw and refreshed logo for the FANTASY 5 Draw game. With the addition of a midday draw, players now have two chances a day to play and win. The new logo is part of the Lottery’s ongoing efforts to modernize its brand and reach a wider audience.

      As a commitment to providing fun and exciting games that generate revenue for the state’s education system, the Florida Lottery hopes the new FANTASY 5 logo will attract more players. The game allows players to select five numbers from a field of 36 for the chance to win top prizes of approximately $100,000.

      The midday drawing for the FANTASY 5 game will be held every day at 1:05 p.m., ET. The midday ticket sales will close 20 minutes prior to the drawing, at 12:45 p.m., ET. Players who purchase tickets after the cut-off time will be eligible for the next available draw.

      To celebrate the launch of the new logo and midday draw, the Florida Lottery is also offering players the chance to participate in two limited-time instant-win promotions. These promotions offer players the opportunity to win $25 cash coupons and BOGO instant-win coupons. Over 1 million instant-win and BOGO coupons will be awarded during the promotional period. For more information about the promotional dates and hours, players can visit the Florida Lottery’s website.

  • CDC Warns Of Deadly Candida Auris Fungus Spreading In Hospitals, Healthcare Facilities

    FORT MYERS, Florida – The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a warning that Candida auris (C. auris), a fungus that is resistant to most antifungal drugs and can cause severe infections with high death rates, spread at an alarming rate in U.S. healthcare facilities in 2020-2021.

    Equally concerning was a tripling in 2021 of the number of cases that were resistant to echinocandins, the antifungal medicine most recommended for the treatment of C. auris infections.

    In general, Candida auris is not a threat to healthy people. People who are very sick, have invasive medical devices, or have long or frequent stays in healthcare facilities are at increased risk for acquiring Candida auris.

    The CDC has deemed Candida auris as an urgent AR threat, because it is often resistant to multiple antifungal drugs, spreads easily in healthcare facilities.

    “The rapid rise and geographic spread of cases is concerning and emphasizes the need for continued surveillance, expanded lab capacity, quicker diagnostic tests, and adherence to proven infection prevention and control,” said CDC epidemiologist Dr. Meghan Lyman, lead author of the paper.

    Candida auris fungus has been spreading across the US since it was first reported in 2016, with a total of 3,270 clinical cases and 7,413 screening cases reported through December 31, 2021.

    The number of clinical cases has increased every year since 2016, with a sharp rise during 2020-2021.

    There has also been an increase in case counts for 2022. From 2019 to 2021, 17 states identified their first-ever case of Candida auris.

    Clinical cases increased from 476 in 2019 to 1,471 in 2021 nationwide, while screening cases tripled from 2020 to 2021, totaling 4,041.

    It is important to conduct screening to prevent the spread of Candida auris by identifying patients carrying the fungus so that infection prevention controls can be used.

    Researchers attribute the rise in Candida auris cases to a variety of reasons, including poor general infection prevention and control practices in healthcare facilities. There may also be an increase in case counts due to enhanced efforts to detect cases, such as increased colonization screening.

    Investigations suggest that Candida auris‘s spread may have worsened due to strain on healthcare and public health systems during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Symptoms of Candida auris Fungus

    Most people who get serious Candida infections are already sick from other medical conditions.

    Candida auris is still rare in the United States. People who get invasive Candida infections are often already sick from other medical conditions, so it can be difficult to know if you have a C. auris infection.

    The most common symptoms of invasive Candida infection are fever and chills that don’t improve after antibiotic treatment for a suspected bacterial infection.

    Only a laboratory test can diagnose C. auris infection. Talk to your healthcare provider if you believe you have a fungal or healthcare-associated infection.

  • 3D Printed Rocket Launch From Florida Set For March 22

    CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida – The launch of the world’s first 3D printed rocket is set to liftoff from Launch Complex 16 in Cape Canaveral, Florida at 10 p.m. Eastern Time on Wednesday, March 22, 2023, after two scrubbed launch attempts.

    The launch window remains open until 1 a.m. Eastern Time on March 23.

    Relativity Space’s first launch of Terran 1, called “GLHF” (Good Luck, Have Fun), is the first orbital attempt by Relativity Space and will not include a customer payload.

    3D Printed Rocket

    As a two-stage, 110ft. tall, 7.5 ft. wide, expendable rocket, Terran 1 is the largest 3D printed object to exist and to attempt orbital flight.

    Relativity’s first Terran 1 vehicle is 85% 3D printed by mass but the company’s goal is to ultimately reach 95% 3D printed.

    Terran 1 has nine Aeon engines in its first stage, and one Aeon Vac in its second stage.

    Like its structure, all Relativity engines are 3D printed and use liquid oxygen (LOX) and liquid natural gas (LNG), which Relative Space claims is not only the best for rocket propulsion, but also for reusability, and the easiest to eventually transition to methane on Mars.

  • Cat-Eating Monitor Lizards Are Invading Florida

    FORT MYERS, Florida – Nile monitor lizards that can grow to over 5 feet long and weigh close to 15 pounds are spreading through Florida.

    The invasive species are known in their native Africa to prey or scavenge for a variety of small animals, including domestic cats.

    In areas where Nile monitors are abundant in Florida, they have also attacked small pets and livestock such as chickens.

    Nile monitors are skillful climbers and adept swimmers that can remain underwater for 12-15 minutes.

    The Nile monitor’s high reproduction rate, diverse diet, and ability to travel over land and in fresh and saltwater allows for the potential establishment throughout Florida, particularly in coastal areas dominated by mangroves or salt marshes.

    In the Sunshine State, Nile monitors could impact populations of nesting birds (especially burrowing owls), gopher tortoises, nesting sea turtles, nesting American crocodiles, and other species listed as threatened or endangered.

    Florida Distribution

    Nile Monitor Lizard Florida distribution map. CredtI: EDDMapS. 2023. Early Detection & Distribution Mapping System. The University of Georgia – Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health.

    Nile monitors are established in Lee and Palm Beach Counties, although observations have occurred throughout the state including multiple observations in Broward County. South Florida’s extensive canal system may provide dispersal corridors for the species, which tend to inhabit water edges.

    Researchers believe populations of Nile monitors in Florida stem from intentional and unintentional releases from animals in captivity. Nile monitors may escape confinement by pushing off the tops of cages or by using their sharp claws to tear through screens.

    They may be intentionally released if they become difficult to feed, manage or handle or if they are deemed unfit or too sick to sell in the reptile trading industry. Nile monitors may also escape from facilities destroyed by hurricanes.

    “Nile monitors eat a wide variety of food items including small mammals, reptiles, fish, amphibians, and more,” said biologist Jenny Ketterlin Eckles. “Because their diet is so varied, we are assessing whether this species may have an impact on Florida’s native wildlife.”

    Report Sightings of Monitor Lizards

    The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission cautions that members of the public should not attempt to capture the Nile monitor themselves. Monitors are not innately aggressive but like any wild animal, they may defend themselves if aggravated or threatened.

    Instead, FWC asks that the public take a picture of a suspected Nile monitor and immediately report it online to IveGot1.org or by phone at 888-Ive-Got1 (888-483-4681).

    The monitor’s body color can range from light yellow to dark olive or brown. They have a pattern of light yellow markings on the back, which appear as bands or stripes closer to the head and tail.

    FWC says that other lizards can easily be mistaken for Nile monitors, including green iguanas, spiny-tailed iguanas, curly-tailed lizards, and other reptiles.

    “Color and pattern variation is pretty common, so the most effective way to verify the species is to take a picture of the animal and submit it along with a report of your observation,” said Eckles.

  • Horntail Snail Invades Florida, Spreads Deadly Rat Lungworm Disease

    MIAMI, Florida – The horntail snail, an invasive species that can spread rat lungworm disease which can cause death, coma, or paralysis in humans and animals, has been positively identified by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services in Miami-Dade County.

    The horntail snail (Macrochlamys indica) was first discovered by a gastropod enthusiast in Coconut Grove who sent the unusual snail to the University of Florida for identification. This is the first time this snail has been found in the United States.

    After investigative inspections, the snail was found at more sites in Miami-Dade County.

    “The horntail snail is an invasive pest with the potential to cause serious health implications for Floridians,” stated Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried.

    “Our Division of Plant Industry and essential industry partners are continuing to monitor this threat and working towards a plan to stop the horntail snail’s spread into other areas of Florida.”

    The horntail snail is a well-known pest in India and feeds on a wide variety of commercial crops, including lettuce, beans, yams, chrysanthemums, etc.

    They are voracious feeders that are most active at night and after rainfall.

    The snail has a delicate amber-colored shell that measures about the size of a dime.

    The horntail snail is named for the pointed fleshy protrusion (caudal horn) at the tip of its tail. When relaxed, the horntail snail has a flap of flesh that extends backward onto or around the shell, which differentiates it from other terrestrial snails in the state.

    The snail prefers cool damp locations, so they may be found under pots or in moist soil. During dry, hot weather, they may burrow in the ground.

    Deadly Rat Lungworm Host

    As with other terrestrial snails in Florida, the horntail snail has the potential to be an intermediate host of rat lungworm, a parasitic nematode that can cause meningitis in humans.

    Snails ingest rat lungworm larvae by eating infected rat feces. When a rat eats an infected snail, the larvae penetrate the rat’s intestine and enter its circulatory system, which transports them to the brain.

    There, they develop into immature worms, re-enter the circulatory system, and travel to the rat’s pulmonary artery where they mature and reproduce.

    When the new larvae hatch, they are coughed up and swallowed by the rat and pass through its feces, completing the life cycle.

    In a survey of 18 counties, nearly 23 percent of rats, about 16 percent of rat fecal samples, and nearly 2 percent of land snails tested positive for the nematode, according to UF researchers.

    Keep Children And Pets Away From Snails

    Humans can ingest the parasite by consuming infected snails or infected frogs and crustaceans, which can also pick up the nematode.

    Infection with rat lungworm can also cause meningitis in animals, as well as limb weakness or paralysis, neck pain, and central nervous system problems.

    Rat Lungworm Symptoms

    Clinical signs of infection in adults include headache, stiff neck, fever, vomiting, nausea, and paralysis of the face and limbs. The most common symptoms of infection in children are nausea, vomiting, and fever.

    While the fatality rate of infection in humans is low, the parasite can cause eosinophilic meningitis if it becomes trapped and dies in the brain, and severe infections can cause coma or death.

  • Florida Man Wins $1 Million From Monopoly Scratch-Off

    ORLANDO, Florida – The Florida Lottery announced that Lazaro Aviles, 56, of Deland, claimed a $1 million top prize from the $20 MONOPOLY DOUBLER Scratch-Off game at the Lottery’s Orlando District Office. Aviles chose to receive his winnings as a one-time, lump-sum payment of $798,985.00.

    The Volusia County man purchased his winning ticket from The Rite Track, located at 899 South Spring Garden Avenue in Deland.

    The retailer will receive a $2,000 bonus commission for selling the winning Scratch-Off ticket.

    The $20 MONOPOLY DOUBLER Scratch-Off game launched on July 4, 2022, and features more than $493 million in cash prizes, including eight top prizes of $5 million.

    The game’s overall odds of winning are 1-in-3.02.

  • AAA: Florida Gas Prices Jumped 15 Cents Last Week

    WEST PALM BEACH, Florida – Florida gas prices jumped 15 cents per gallon last week, but relief may soon be on the way, according to AAA.

    On Sunday, the state average for regular unleaded was $3.46 per gallon. That’s 12 cents less than this year’s high of $3.58 per gallon.

    “There were significant losses in the oil market last week which should enable gas prices to move lower again,” said Mark Jenkins, spokesman, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “The failure of two U.S. banks raised concerns of a global recession that could eventually hamper fuel demand.”

    The U.S. price of oil dropped 13% last week, for a total loss of 17% over two weeks. Friday’s settlement of $66.74 per barrel was the lowest since December 2021.

    But the gasoline market did not take quite as big of a hit, likely because strong springtime demand coupled with refinery maintenance season and the switch to summer gasoline is serving as somewhat of a buoy.

    Regardless, gasoline futures dropped 24 cents through the past two weeks, which is an indicator that pump prices should move lower, unless fundamentals rebound this week, AAA forecasts.

    The most expensive metro markets in Florida are  West Palm Beach-Boca Raton ($3.63), Naples ($3.52), and Port St. Lucie ($3.51).

    The least expensive metro markets are Crestview-Fort Walton Beach ($3.17), Panama City ($3.18), and Pensacola ($3.22)

    Ways to Save on Gasoline

    Combine errands to limit driving time.

    Shop around for the best gas prices in your community.

    Pay with cash. Some retailers charge extra per gallon for customers who pay with a credit card.

    Remove excess weight in your vehicle. Every 100 pounds taken out of the vehicle improves fuel economy by 1-2 percent.

    Drive conservatively. Aggressive acceleration and speeding reduces fuel economy.

    AAA GAS PRICE AVERAGES
    (Price per gallon of regular unleaded gasoline)
    Sunday Saturday Week Ago Month Ago One Year Ago
    National $3.446 $3.449 $3.472 $3.413 $4.262
    Florida $3.455 $3.459 $3.314 $3.305 $4.197
    Georgia $3.223 $3.229 $3.265 $3.220 $4.188
    Click here to view current gasoline price averages
  • Gerber Good Start Baby Formula Recall Due To Bacteria Contamination

    Perrigo is issuing a voluntary recall of certain lots of Gerber Good Start SootheProTM Powdered Infant Formula in the U.S., that were manufactured at the Company’s Gateway Eau Claire, Wisconsin manufacturing facility from January 02, 2023, to January 18, 2023.

    Perrigo says that this product is being recalled out of an abundance of caution due to the potential presence of Cronobacter sakazakii.

    “Importantly, no distributed product has tested positive for the presence of this bacteria, no adverse events have been reported and no other products manufactured at this facility or any other of Perrigo’s facilities are affected by this recall,” Perriga stated in its  U.S. Food and Drug Administration recall notice.

    Cronobacter sakazakii is a bacteria commonly found in the environment. In most people, it causes no symptoms but in some, particularly premature infants, infants under 2 months of age, or infants with weakened immune systems fever, poor feeding, excessive crying, or low energy as well as other serious symptoms can occur.

    This product is sold at retailers across the U.S. Consumers who purchased the product after March 5, 2023, should look for the following Lot Codes and “use by” dates, which can be found on the bottom of the package.

    Gerber® Good Start® SootheProTM 12.4 oz:
    300357651Z – USE BY 04JUL2024
    300457651Z – USE BY 05JUL2024
    300557651Z – USE BY 06JUL2024
    300557652Z – USE BY 06JUL2024
    300757651Z – USE BY 08JUL2024
    300857651Z – USE BY 09JUL2024
    301057651Z – USE BY 11JUL2024
    301057652Z – USE BY 11JUL2024
    301157651Z – USE BY 12JUL2024

    Gerber® Good Start® SootheProTM 30.6 oz:
    301357652Z – USE BY 14JUL2024
    301457652Z – USE BY 15JUL2024
    301557651Z – USE BY 16JUL2024

    Gerber Good® Start® SootheProTM 19.4 oz:
    301557652Z – USE BY 16JUL2024I

    Consumers can request refunds for impacted products and find more information about Gerber Good Start by contacting the Gerber Parent Resource Center on behalf of Perrigo at 1-800-777-7690 anytime 24/7. Consumers with any health-related questions should contact their healthcare provider.

    No other lot codes are impacted by this recall. Any consumers who purchased products with matching codes should discontinue use and dispose of the product.

  • Amazon To Lay Off 9,000 More Jobs After Cutting 18,000 Jobs In January

    Amazon announced on Monday that the company will eliminate 9,000 more jobs in addition to the 18,000 jobs that were cut in January.

    “Some may ask why we didn’t announce these role reductions with the ones we announced a couple months ago,” Amazon CEO  Andy Jassy wrote in a memo to employees.

    “The short answer is that not all of the teams were done with their analyses in the late fall; and rather than rush through these assessments without the appropriate diligence, we chose to share these decisions as we’ve made them so people had the information as soon as possible. The same is true for this note as the impacted teams are not yet finished making final decisions on precisely which roles will be impacted. Once those decisions have been made (our goal is to have this complete by mid to late April), we will communicate with the impacted employees (or where applicable in Europe, with employee representative bodies). We will, of course, support those we have to let go, and will provide packages that include a separation payment, transitional health insurance benefits, and external job placement support.”

    Amazon plans to eliminate about 9,000 more positions in the next few weeks—mostly in AWS cloud services, PXT, Advertising, and Twitch.

    “For several years leading up to this one, most of our businesses added a significant amount of headcount, Jassy added. “This made sense given what was happening in our businesses and the economy as a whole. However, given the uncertain economy in which we reside, and the uncertainty that exists in the near future, we have chosen to be more streamlined in our costs and headcount. The overriding tenet of our annual planning this year was to be leaner while doing so in a way that enables us to still invest robustly in the key long-term customer experiences that we believe can meaningfully improve customers’ lives and Amazon as a whole.”

  • Florida Lottery Launches New Logo and Midday Draw for FANTASY 5 Game

    The Florida Lottery has announced the introduction of a new midday draw and refreshed logo for the FANTASY 5 Draw game. With the addition of a midday draw, players now have two chances a day to play and win. The new logo is part of the Lottery’s ongoing efforts to modernize its brand and reach a wider audience.

    As a commitment to providing fun and exciting games that generate revenue for the state’s education system, the Florida Lottery hopes the new FANTASY 5 logo will attract more players. The game allows players to select five numbers from a field of 36 for the chance to win top prizes of approximately $100,000.

    The midday drawing for the FANTASY 5 game will be held every day at 1:05 p.m., ET. The midday ticket sales will close 20 minutes prior to the drawing, at 12:45 p.m., ET. Players who purchase tickets after the cut-off time will be eligible for the next available draw.

    To celebrate the launch of the new logo and midday draw, the Florida Lottery is also offering players the chance to participate in two limited-time instant-win promotions. These promotions offer players the opportunity to win $25 cash coupons and BOGO instant-win coupons. Over 1 million instant-win and BOGO coupons will be awarded during the promotional period. For more information about the promotional dates and hours, players can visit the Florida Lottery’s website.

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