The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, September 02, 1998, Page 7, Image 7

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Veterinarian Barbara Swanson didn't
think much about it when the sweet, sick
cat she was treating for an infection bit
her on the thumb.
Four days later, a high fever and
intense pain in her arm sent her to the
hospital. The diagnosis: bubonic plague.
Esther Morrison believed her 70
year-old husband was exhausted when
he stopped splitting wood, complained
of stomachpain and told her not to count
on him for supper.
Two days later, he was dead. The
diagnosis1 septicemic plague.
Despite its medieval aura - the
Black Death (the pneumonic form of the
plague) wiped out one-quarter of
Europe population in the 14th century
- plague has a decidedly modem face.
There are still sporadic outbreaks around
the world. In the United States, an aver
age of 10 to IS cases are reported in
humans each yey, mostly in the West
That makes it rare - but worrisome
Regional scares
“Wfe treat it very seriously because
of the risk of human-tn-human spread
and the high fatality rate,” said Kenneth
Gage, a chief of a plague section in foe
federal Centers for Disease Control and
Plague is a bacterial disease of
rodents that generally is transmitted
through flea bites. The culprits are most
likely to be rock squirrels, ground squir
rels, prairie dogs or pack rats living in the
western half of die United States.
Most of the human cases occur in the
Southwest and along die Sima Nevada
in California. There were human cases
reported in at least 13 Western states.
And it doesn't require unsanitary
conditions or urban squalor. A roaming
cat can bring plague back to a suburban
Irving room.
Although flea powder and other pre
cautions can reduce the risk, plague kills
about 16 percent of its human victims,
according to the CDC.
Sneaky killer
There were 394 human plague cases
in the nation from 1949 through 1997,
63 of diem fatal, die CDC said.
New Mexico logged 218 of those,
including 30 fatalities, said Paul
Ettestad, public health veterinarian with
the state Department of Health.
“Itls a disease that can be fatal if not
recognized and treated early enough,”
Ettestad said.
Swanson saw a doctor as soon as she
felt sick and spent two days in the hospi
tal. Several months later, she still had lin
gering fatigue.
Esther Morrison’s husband, Donald,
a retired metallurgical engineer, died in
August 1984 after being stricken at then
house on a wooded hillside a few miles
from Santa Fe.
Dead ground squirrels found in die
family’s woodpile were later determined
to have had plague. But the doctor he
saw twice didn’t recognize the disease.
Early warning, early action
Bubonic plague, which accounts for
80 percent of cases, is marked by
swollen lymph glands, called buboes.
It’s harder to diagnose septicemic
plague, which circulates in the blood
stream, and pneumonic plague, which
infects die lungs and can be transmitted
through coughing.
The incidence of plague appears to
be cyclical, linked to the milder winters
typical of EINifto years that cause
rodents to thrive, Ettestad said.
Cats are more susceptible to plague
than dogs. Listlessness and not eating
are clues that a cat is ill. “If you become
sick and there’s a sick cat in the house, go
see your doctor,” Swanson advised.
UNL reaches ‘historic’
agreement on remains
REMAINS from page 1
meeting a floor below the American
Indian conference, voted almost
unanimously to support the agree
ment signed by Moeser.
“The atmosphere in the room
upstairs is entirely different than it
was this morning,” Moeser told the
Moeser went on to explain the
agreement, which he called a “major
Senators passed a motion sup
porting the “action taken by
Chancellor Moeser to resolve the
unfortunate issue relating to the
physical remains of Native
A few senate members voiced
opposition to the motion, saying the
decision to support Moeser was
Gargi Roysircar Sodowsky, an
educational psychology professor,
said she appreciated the gesture but
wanted the motion tabled and dis
cussed further.
Psychology Professor Don
Jensen also said the senate should
not be so quick to hand out support.
“We should not give rewards to
administration on five minutes’
notice,” Jensen said.
But English Professor James
Ford said the motion was “imminent
ly reasonable.”
He said supporting the motion
strengthened UNL’s administration.
Moeser said: “This is the begin
ning of the end of this painful period
in the university’s history.
“The remains will finally be
given a respectful burial.”
Pamina Yellow Bird, a Native
American Grave Protection and
Repatriation Act consultant and
member of the Ankara tribe, said the
resolution was a historic agreement.
“(I) hope other universities will
look to them,” Yellow Bird said.
“They are working very hard to
Yet Yellow Bird said there are
still many issues that remain unre
Sixteen thousand to 20,000 miss
ing ancestors remain, she said. An
investigation to determine whether
the university violated laws in the
study and storage of the bones still
has to be completed.
“This (agreement) does not
mean we will look away,” she said.
But Ralph Thomas, a Santee
Sioux and Omaha Heritage member,
said the university has taken its first
step in resolving the issue, as well as
reconciling with Great Plains tribes.
“There have been a lot of first
steps alone,” Thomas said.
“First by the people, then by the
tribes and then by the university.”
Staff writer Jessica Fargen
contributed to this report.
SENATE from page 1
told faculty members to identify
minimal standards.
“There is quite a difference
between satisfactory and mini
mal,” said Ford, who is the former
Academic Senate president.
“People are just trying to be
very clear. Somehow minimal
sounds clearer than satisfactory.”
The timetable also was at
Latta said colleges were told
different things about the timeline.
“I don’t know what individual
language the deans communicated
to their departments,” Latta said.
Some deans may have not
informed faculty members until
this fall, which causes a time
crunch. »
She said other deans told fac
ulty members to have the criteria
in by mid-September.
Other departments, such as
Latta’s, associate professor of
Information Sciences, have
known since last spring.
Latta said no decisions, just
clarifications, were made Tuesday
concerning the issue. She said
Edwards seemed flexible and will
ing to work with deans and faculty
members to get the process
Judge: Morals change legal issues
BORK from page 1
been astounded how journalists have
turned on him”
Lying to the American people
was die first item on the articles of
impeachment against Richard
Nixon, Bork said.
“When the evidence comes out 1
think there may be a wave of dis
gust,” he said.
Later Bork declined to comment
on Clinton with students.
More than 100 students attended
Boric’s speech in a packed auditori
um on East Campus.
“I don’t agree with all of his opin
ions, but he is one of die most logical
legal minds there is,” law student
Eric Sanford said.
Several of the problems Bork
cited, such as the different ideologies
taught in constitutional law classes,
are evident at UNL’s law school,
Sanford said.Though some students
did not agree with Boric’s comments,
they all listened attentively as he enu
merated what he viewed as die prob
lems with die legal system and soci
ety.“The legal system has started tc
judge by ideology, not law,” Borli
Judges are influenced by the
opinions of society and how they an
viewed by their peers and the media
he said.
Even law schools, where future
judges are trained, have become
politicized, Bork said.
“Culture is influencing the law,’
he said, “and decisions are not basee
on the Constitution.”
The politicizing pf court deci
sions is a problem worldwide, Bod
“Judges are the only ones whe
can make their ideologies stick wid
their court decisions,” Boik said.
Legislators are the primary poli
cy makers, not judges, he said.
Boik said court decisions basec
on the will of the majority instead o:
constitutional law such as Roe vs.
Wade and the separation of church
and state have contributed to
America’s moral decline.
Bork cited Clinton’s actions as
evidence of the decline.
“We knew he was a liar, adulterer
and draft dodger when he was elect
ed die first time,” Bork said. “Twenty
or 30 years earlier that would have
disqualified him.”
Now America is being governed
by Yale law graduates with 1960s
attitudes, Bork said.
1 And he knows because Bill and.
Hillary Clinton were Bork’s students
when he taught at Yale law school in
: the 1960s.
“1 used to say they were both my
> students,” Boric said. “Now I say they
i were just in the room.”
Bork said America’s moral
decline has been overlooked because
of the strong economy.
I “Economic abundance does not
f make up for a hedonistic society.”
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