In 1984, followers of the Indian guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh spiked salad bars at 10 restaurants in town with salmonella and sickened about 750 people. \nThe cult members had hoped to incapacitate so many voters that their own candidates in the county elections would win. The scheme failed, but the episode spread fear in The Dalles and drained the town's economy. \nSeventeen years later, there are lots of things this quiet town would like to be known for -- its lush cherry groves, its renovated downtown and its grand views of the sweeping Columbia River, among them. But not its role as the site of the first bioterrorism attack in modern US history. \nSome townspeople are bothered that the story is being retold as the news media cover the national anthrax scare. \n"We didn't ever expect it to raise its ugly head again and it's not good," said Karen LeBreton, a food-poisoning victim who was Wasco County deputy clerk at the time. "For us, in small-town America, it was very overwhelming." \nThe Dalles, a town of 12,000 people about 130km from Portland, is suffering badly in the weak national economy, said Susan Huntington, Chamber of Commerce director. The closing of two aluminum factories and a downturn in the cherry market have cost 700 jobs in the past year, she said. \nThe renewed publicity about the 1984 poisonings "doesn't exactly make people want to pack up their families and move here," Huntington said. \nThere was little national attention given to the salmonella poisonings in the years immediately afterward, largely because it occurred in a remote town and was perpetrated by a fanatical fringe group, said Gary Perlstein, a Portland State University professor and terrorism expert. \n"They assumed that it would never happen again," said Perlstein, who wrote about the poisonings in his 1991 book Perspectives on Terrorism. \nA brand-new book on bioterrorism, Germs: Biological Weapons and America's Secret War, devotes an entire chapter to the outbreak. \nSome residents say the episode was good preparation for the anthrax threat. \n"We lived with that fear on a daily basis," said Sue Proffitt, who was Wasco County clerk in 1984 and was among those who fell ill. "We understand in The Dalles how bioterrorism can happen." \nBeginning in 1981, Rajneesh assembled nearly 7,000 followers on a 40 hectare ranch south of town. The cult members incorporated their commune as a city, created an intimidating police force, stockpiled weapons and took over the city council of nearby Antelope. \nThe cult plotted to win two of three Wasco County judgeships and the sheriff's office by incapacitating non-Rajneeshee voters in The Dalles. \nThe cult members had planned to contaminate The Dalles' water supply. The salad bar contamination was a test of the salmonella. \nResidents suspected the cult members were behind the poisonings, and went to the polls in droves to make sure they didn't win any of the county positions. \nThe outbreak cost restaurants hundreds of thousands of dollars. \nIn the months that followed, many residents feared cult members would try to spread the AIDS virus or poison the water. \nThe cult came apart in 1985 and some cult leaders became prosecution witnesses. \nIn 1986, two leading cult members pleaded no contest to the salmonella poisoning, among other things, and served four years in prison. They then fled to Europe before prosecutors could pursue further charges. \nThe cult's leader, Rajneesh, was fined US$400,000 for immigration fraud and died in India in 1990. \nMore than 20 other cult members were indicted on charges ranging from immigration violations to concocting a plot -- never carried out -- to murder a federal prosecutor. \nA bronze statue of an antelope stands in front of the county courthouse in The Dalles, a gift from Antelope. A plaque reads: "In order for evil to prevail, good men should do nothing." \n"That's kind of our ongoing message -- that you can't just stand by," Huntington said. "We certainly survived it, and I think the nation also needs to hear that. It's a great American message."
SECRET OUT: Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung yesterday accidentally revealed that the infections occurred at the ministry’s Taoyuan General Hospital The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported the fifth COVID-19 case in a cluster infection at a Taoyuan hospital, where four other medical workers were confirmed to have been infected over the past week. The latest case is a nurse who had tested negative on Tuesday last week, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the CECC, told a news conference. However, on Thursday, she developed symptoms, such as nasal congestion and a cough, and a second test yesterday found that she was infected, Chen said. She is the head nurse of a ward where two
VIGILANCE: While two of the cases are family members of a nurse, there is no sign of community spread and the source of infection is identifiable, the CECC said The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported four new domestic COVID-19 cases associated with a cluster infection at a Taoyuan hospital. Since the first case was identified on Tuesday last week, five healthcare workers — two doctors and three nurses — at the Ministry of Health and Welfare’s Taoyuan General Hospital have tested positive for the virus. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that two of the four new cases are the husband and daughter of a nurse (case No. 863) who had earlier been confirmed to have COVID-19. The husband (case No. 864)
Don Quijote, the biggest discount store in Japan, is opening its first store in Taiwan today. The three-story Don Don Donki store in Taipei’s Ximending (西門町) area, which operates 24 hours a day, has already created 400 jobs, the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) said in a press release. Many Taiwanese, including Taipei Deputy Mayor Vivian Huang (黃珊珊), consider a trip to Don Quijote an essential stop in Japan. “I have been to Don Quijote at least 10 times myself,” Huang said yesterday at a news conference announcing the store’s opening. “They are rendering an important service, because we cannot travel
‘CONTAINED’: The CECC is not considering locking down the hospital where the infections were detected, as their source has been found, Chen Shih-chung said The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported one new domestic COVID-19 case, a doctor at a hospital in northern Taiwan where three other medical workers were confirmed to have the disease over the past week. The new case — No. 856 — is a doctor who had treated a COVID-19 patient together with case No. 838, said Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center. Case No. 838, confirmed as a locally infected COVID-19 case on Tuesday, was the first case in the hospital cluster, and later infected his partner, who is a nurse at the same