From the Bangkok Post:
"Geneva (dpa) - A cluster of seven human bird-flu cases in Indonesia may have been caused by multiple person-to-person transmission, the World Health Organization (WHO) said Tuesday.
The apparent infection chain among an extended family in North Sumatra began with a woman who is believed to have passed on the H5N1 to relatives who were with her "in a small room" when she was sick and coughing, a WHO statement said.
The woman's 10-year-old nephew subsequently got bird flu and is considered a possible source of infection for her brother, who was "closely involved in caring for his son," WHO said. The three people are among six family members who have died since May 4.
"All confirmed cases in the cluster can be directly linked to close and prolonged exposure to a patient during a phase of severe illness," a WHO statement said.
Human-to-human transmission "cannot be ruled out," though a possible alternative source of exposure is still being investigated, WHO said.
Indonesia is second only to Vietnam in human cases and deaths in the current outbreak of bird flu. Worldwide, 218 people in 10 countries have been confirmed with bird flu, of which 124 have died, according to WHO."
If this isn't it, the final mutations allowing for efficient H-2-H transmission could come at any time and I predict the shift will most certainly occur before this year's flu season.
I apologize for the brief haitus on this blog, I am now settled into my summer's plans so you can expect much more rigorous and often postings.
Thanks to everyone who reads SuperStrain! Don't be shy to comment and e-mail me, I'm on my computer almost constantly.
I am also looking for additional blog members. If you have an interest in the subject of biowarfare and natural biological disasters and can keep abreast of the news, I want you to be posting here! Drop me a line!
Take care! Get prepped before it's too late to prep!
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
From the Bangkok Post:
Thursday, May 11, 2006
Wednesday, May 10, 2006
Commentary from Recombinomics:
"Evolution of Qinghai H5N1 Bird Flu
May 9, 2006
Today is the one year anniversary of the reporting of the H5N1 outbreak at Qinghai Lake. In the past 12 months the Qinghai strain of H5N1 has migrated through Russia, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. This explosion is without precedent and was driven by H5N1 in long range migratory birds.
The sequences of 16 isolates from Qinghai Lake were made public in July. Although the genes were most closely related to H5N1 from South Korea/ Japan or Guangdong Province in China, the sequences were unique and had some polymorphisms linked to Vietnam and others to isolates from Europe.
The isolates were particularly virulent, killing experimental chickens in 20 hours or less, and killing experimental mice in 3-4 days. The lethality in mice may have been linked to a polymorphism that had not been seen previously in H5N1 isolates from birds. PB2 E627K was a human polymorphism and was present in all H1, H2, and H3 isolates from humans. It was also in some H5N1 isolates from patients or cats and was associated with a poor prognosis. Almost all mammalian infections were fatal. In addition, lab experiments showed that E627K was associated with virulence in mice and the polymorphism increased polymerase activity at lower temperatures (33 C).
As noted in the summary on the Qinghai strain emergence, the Qinghai outbreak was followed by outbreaks in nature reserves in Russia and Mongolia. The presence of H5N1 in over 2 dozen bird species in southern Siberia suggested that H5N1 would soon spread through Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.
At the beginning of 2006, the first human case of Qinghai H5N1 was reported. The cluster in Turkey was large and the H5 had acquired S227N, a change in the receptor binding domain that increased binding for human receptors in the upper respiratory tract. This change was predicted because H9N2 isolates in the Middle East contained donor sequence that would allow recombinants to acquire this change.
S227N was not reported in subsequent Qinghai H5N1 isolates in the area, including human isolates from Iraq and Egypt. Qinghai isolates did have some regional differences, but most of the regional polymorphisms traced back to H5N1 in Asia. However, there were some North American polymorphisms, suggesting that H5N1 had moved into North America earlier in the season.
Qinghai isolates have also been reported in Liaoning Province in China. However, the human cases in China had sequences found in the Fujian strain of H5N1. This strain has recently also been noted in Laos and Malaysia. Thus, China has two strains co-circulating that case H5N1 infections in humans.
Recent sequence data on a human isolate from Indonesia identifies yet another H5N1 strain. This strain has a genetic background that matches earlier isolates from Indonesian poultry, but the human isolate has additional polymorphisms found in Vietnam, Thailand, and wild bird isolates in China, including the Qinghai strain. Thus, H5N1 in China frequently recombines with other H5N1 isolates to rapidly evolve.
Recent reports from Qinghai province indicated new H5N1 infections were found in bar headed geese in two counties. These recent infections signal migration back to Qinghai, which will come from India as well as east and southeast Asia. These birds will then migrate to Chany Lake in southern Siberia, where there will be H5N1 infected birds from Europe, the Middle East and Asia.
This in the first 12 months many of the Qinghai isolates flew into regions where H5N1 had not been previously reported. H5N1 was seeded locally on these regions, but the H5N1 will be returning to Russia to mix with H5N1 from Qinghai Lake, leading to significant evolution in the Qinghai strain, which will then migrate south in the fall into regions where H5N1 was seeded in the past 12 months."
Posted by Frobisher Smith at 5/10/2006
Tuesday, May 09, 2006
This one's from World Net Daily, so put your tinfoil on:
"The pariah state of North Korea is trying to weaponize the bird flu virus, making it the ideal threat for al-Qaida, the British intelligence agency MI6 has learned.
The Bush administration has given briefings classified "Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information" to members of Congress and the Senate on the threat.
In aerosol form it would be undetectable at all border crossings and virologists at Porton Down – Britain's research center responsible for developing antidotes against biological attacks – fear that a genetically engineered version of the virus would be far more lethal than any current threat from the virus.
World ranking experts have said that it would be "the greatest threat al-Qaida could unleash."
In an exclusive interview, Dr. Ken Allibek, the former director of the Soviet Union's biowarfare program, Biopreperat, who is now a senior adviser to the Bush administration on bio-defense, said: "The threat of a weaponized bird flu virus cannot be over emphasised. It would be the most terrible weapon in the hands of a terrorist. The advantage for al-Qaida is that an aerosolized weapon would be impossible to detect from one spread naturally by birds. But a lab-produced virus would be far more lethal."
Professor Peter Openshaw, a leading virologist at Imperial College, London, called it: "more terrifying than engineered smallpox. That would be relatively easy to contain because there is a vaccine. But with improvements in laboratory technology, it's becoming much easier to engineer these viruses. It's becoming a terrible concern."
A CIA document presented by Goss showed that the World Health Organization has warned the virus would affect one-fifth of the world's population "with 30 million requiring hospitalisation and at least 2 million people could die."
The decision to keep the briefing secret has led to fierce criticism from public health officials in the United States."
I wonder how far North Korea will get trying to produce it's own bioweapons... I mean, is there anybody left in that country at all besides the dear leader and a few million starving peasants? The brain drain southward has to be pretty strong.
Posted by Frobisher Smith at 5/09/2006
Sunday, May 07, 2006
From The Telegraph:
"Television movie takes bird flu fears to extreme
WASHINGTON – Bodies piling up so quickly it takes dump trucks to haul them away. Barbed wire to keep whole neighborhoods quarantined. It’s Hollywood’s version of bird flu, a blur of fact and fiction that some scientists say could confuse the public.
“Fatal Contact: Bird Flu in America,” an ABC made-for-television movie, airs Tuesday just as scientists are to begin testing of wild birds in Alaska that could herald the arrival of bird flu in North America. Scientists fear the bird flu virus could evolve so it could be passed from human to human, sparking a global pandemic.
The two-hour movie plays up that notion to the fullest, with a running ticker that tallies tens of millions of victims worldwide. In one scene, the bodies are thrown on a pyre, like the carcasses of cows torched in the 2001 foot-and-mouth disease outbreak in Great Britain. The producers of the movie, from the writer of 2002’s “Atomic Twister,” bill their work as a “thinking man’s disaster film.”
“We call this a plausible worst-case scenario. This could actually happen. It may not be this bad but it could be this bad. The reason to portray it this way is to kind of give a wake-up call to everyone and this is something we shouldn’t ignore and we should be as prepared as we should be,” said Diana Kerew, one of the movie’s executive producers.
Bird flu expert Michael Osterholm said the movie realistically portrays the shortages of goods and services, and some of the ensuing panic, that could occur in a pandemic. But Osterholm frets the blurring of information and entertainment could do the public a disservice and hopes to arrange a conference call with television critics before the movie airs to set the record straight. He singled out for criticism how the movie shows Virginia officials using barbed wire to fence off and quarantine entire neighborhoods.
“This is too far important an issue to create further confusion in the public’s mind,” said Osterholm, who directs the Center for Infectious Disease Research at the University of Minnesota.
For the record, a spokesman for Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine said the commonwealth has no plans to roll out cyclone fences and barbed wire. “We haven’t done that since, oh, the ’50s,” joked Kevin Hall.
“Fatal Contact” begins in China, where – in the movie – the bird flu virus has mutated to the point where it’s being passed human to human. It’s only when an American businessman – “patient zero” – prepares to catch a flight out of Hong Kong, after crossing paths with an infected factory worker, that the global pandemic really gets started. Playing supporting roles are a wadded-up cocktail napkin, stuffed olive and an apparently less-than-sterile martini."
Woooo! So where's the part that's outrageous and totally fiction? Oh, there isn't any... This is just the visceral, fictional recording of a worst case scenario for a flu pandemic. Sounds like it's gonna scare the shit out of me, like it should any American.
At least in the movie they are smart enough to burn the bodies. If I hear the godamned question "what would we do with all the bodies?" one more time I'm going to scream bloody-murder... "WE FUCKING BURN THE BODIES, THATS WHAT!!! MORON!!!!"
Ok, I need to go take my meds now...
Posted by Frobisher Smith at 5/07/2006
"ZANZIBAR, Tanzania (AP) -- Hundreds of dead dolphins washed up Friday along the shore of a popular tourist destination on Zanzibar's northern coast, and scientists ruled out poisoning.
It was not immediately clear what killed the 400 dolphins, whose carcasses were strewn along a 2.5-mile stretch of Nungwi, said Narriman Jidawi, a marine biologist at the Institute of Marine Science in Zanzibar.
But the bottlenose dolphins, which live in deep offshore waters, had empty stomachs, meaning that they could have been disoriented and were swimming for some time to reorient themselves. They did not starve to death and were not poisoned, Jidawi said.
In the United States, experts were investigating the possibility that sonar from U.S. submarines could have been responsible for a similar incident in Marathon, Florida, where 68 deep-water dolphins stranded themselves in March 2005."
Just so everyone knows what BS the line the US is putting out about this - SONAR interference can screw up where a dolphin thinks its going and stuff, not make it stop eating and hang out underwater until it dies.
400 dolphins is way too many dolphins to get messed up by some submarine scanner and start heading for the coast. They obviously got sick and yet none of the news reports on this even suggest that.
Posted by Frobisher Smith at 5/07/2006
Saturday, May 06, 2006
From the Johns Hopkins News-Letter:
"In the largest U.S. mumps outbreak in 20 years, more than 1,200 cases of mumps have been reported, with many coming from college students.
This is a stark contrast to 2003, when less than 300 cases of the mumps were reported nationally, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
So far, there have been no reported deaths from the recent outbreak.
This phenomenon happens to be, reportedly, the biggest epidemic of mumps in the U.S. since 269 cases were reported in Douglas County, Kan., from October 1988 to April 1989.
In Iowa alone, 815 confirmed or suspected cases of mumps were reported to the Iowa Department of Public Health.
The state has seen around five cases annually in recent years. Iowa's last major outbreak of mumps occurred in 1987 when 476 people were infected.
The first case of mumps was reported at a university in eastern Iowa in Dec., 2005. According to the CDC, out of several students who were screened for mumps, two tested positive.
The mumps, already spreading throughout Iowa, has spread to neighboring states like Illinois, Minnesota and Nebraska.
The outbreaks in the Midwest colleges were most likely facilitated by the close proximity of students in the dormitories.
Health officials are still uncertain as to what caused the outbreak. One possibility is that the infection carried over from England, where the same strain of mumps has resulted in tens of thousands of cases over the past two years. Since the first appearences of the mumps in America were reported on college campuses, it has led to speculation that the outbreak was brought over by a college student.
Not long ago, two students at the Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pa., were diagnosed with the mumps. So far, state epidemiologists have not found evidence connecting these cases to the epidemic spreading in the Midwest. Interviews with the students are still being conducted to find a possible link.
Students fall into the common misconception that vaccination against the mumps will prevent infection.
However, the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine, which is required for all children entering public schools in Iowa, does not guarantee protection from the mumps. It is only 95 percent effective."
Get ready America, school's almost out.
Posted by Frobisher Smith at 5/06/2006
Tuesday, May 02, 2006
From Columbia Daily Tribune:
"As of Friday, 74 Missourians, including three Boone County residents, were known to have the mumps, an acute viral illness that causes fevers, headaches and swelling of salivary glands. A mumps outbreak has plagued the Midwest this year, with Iowa reporting more than 600 cases since January."
From Black Hills News:
"PIERRE, S.D. – The Department of Health announced today that it is working with colleges, universities and technical schools in the state to schedule mumps immunization clinics. As of April 28, South Dakota had reported 3 confirmed cases of mumps and several suspect cases were also under investigation."
From WVLT Knoxville:
"The majority of cases in this particular outbreak are occurring among 18 to 25 year olds, primarily in Iowa, but are also under investigation in eight neighboring states, including Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska and Wisconsin.
It's unknown why this Mumps outbreak is occurring, especially when most US residents receive a vaccination for it during childhood."
It's not deadly, but it's spreading, and there's no explanation for it. The UK is up to their eyeballs in mumps this season as well, maybe this is a Bush/Blair team-up to see how effective college kids work as a transmission vector for future (or current) bioweapons.
Posted by Frobisher Smith at 5/02/2006