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Sun, 17 Feb 2019
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Plagues


Health

Measles outbreak rocks Madagascar

Measles virus
© WIKIMEDIA, CDC/CYNTHIA S. GOLDSMITH; WILLIAM BELLINI
Transmission electron micrograph of a single measles virus particle.
While the US faces measles outbreaks from New York to Washington state, reigniting discussions about the risk of parents who refuse to vaccinate their children, Madagascar has been fighting the worst eruption of the disease in decades. Since October, the African island nation has seen more than 50,000 cases of the highly contagious viral infection, which has so far taken the lives of more than 300 people, mostly kids, the country's secretary general of the ministry of health tells CNN. That's more than double the numbers reported by the World Health Organization (WHO) in mid-January.

"We heard rumblings of a measles outbreak in the capital between December and January and I just knew we were going to get hit," Lon Kightlinger, a former South Dakota state epidemiologist and regular Peace Corp volunteer in Madagascar, tells CNN. "Our one doctor here, who has been [a] practicing physician for 12 years, had never seen a case of measles until a month ago. And then boom, boom, boom, they started walking through the door. And it hasn't stopped." Measles cases have now been reported in all major Madagascan towns and cities and throughout rural areas as well.

Bizarro Earth

'Hundreds of thousands' of fish dead in Australia

Darling River Mass Death
© ROBERT GREGORY, ROBERT GREGORY/AFP
Just weeks after up to a million fish were killed, another mass death occurred in the Murray-Darling river system.
"Hundreds of thousands" of fish have died in drought-stricken Australia in the last few days and more mass deaths are likely to occur, the authorities warned Tuesday.

Locals around the Darling River were confronted with a sea of white, as dead fish carpeted the waters near the southeastern Outback town of Menindee.

Just weeks after up to a million were killed -- with scientists pointing to low water and oxygen levels as well as possibly toxic algae -- another mass death occurred in the key agricultural region.

Inspectors from the New South Wales Department of Primary Industries have visited the site and said they found that "hundreds of thousands of fish have died".

"Further fish deaths in the Darling River are anticipated as a significant number of fish have been observed under stress," the department said in a statement.

Some 700 kilos (1,543 pounds) of dead fish were removed from the river Monday, with similar amounts expected to be collected Tuesday, it added.

The Darling River is part of the Murray-Darling River system that stretches thousands of kilometres across several states.

Biohazard

Hantavirus outbreak kills 11 people in remote town in Argentina

hanta virus

A man in Epuyen wears a mask and waits for clients at his shop, with a sign that says in Spanish 'We are all family in Epuyén – be supportive, use a mask'
Nearly a dozen people have died in a rat-borne disease outbreak in Argentina.

Hantavirus has infected at least 29 people in the South American country, a majority of them female, and it has killed 11 of them so far, authorities say.

Earlier this month a judge ordered 85 people to stay in their homes to stop the virus, believed to have first broken out at a party, from spreading.

Although rare among people, hantavirus cannot be cured and kills up to 50 per cent of people who catch it.

'Potential human-to-human transmission is currently under investigation,' the World Health Organization said.

Comment: If it is true that the mode of transmission is changing, that could mean an even more devastating outbreak is possible:


Biohazard

Ebola outbreak death toll surges in DR Congo

Ebola
© Médecins Sans Frontières (Sylvain Cherkaoui/Cosmos)
A patient is trying to rehydrate himself in an Ebola Treatment Unit in Kailahun, Sierra Leone
Hospital beds at the Ebola transit centre in Beni were stored outside in December, after anti-government protestors ransacked the tents. Hospital beds at the Ebola transit centre in Beni were stored outside in December, after anti-government protestors ransacked the tents. AFP

The number of people killed in an Ebola outbreak in eastern DR Congo has risen to 443, health authorities have announced, as new President Felix Tshisekedi began his first full day in office on Friday.

The rising death toll -- up by more than 40 in the past ten days -- emphasises the challenge of controlling the epidemic in the strife-torn east and is just one of a host of complex issues facing Tshisekedi.

Comment: For more, check out: Ebola "popping up unexpectedly and proving impossible to control"


Syringe

State of emergency declared in US because of measles 'outbreak'

measles-rubella (MR) vaccine

A medical worker holds a measles-rubella (MR) vaccine in Indonesia
A state of emergency was declared on Friday in the western US state of Washington following a measles outbreak that has affected more than two dozen people, the majority of them children.

The disease was declared eliminated in the US in 2000 but has since made a comeback that is tied to imported cases and the rise of the anti-vaccine movement.


Comment: This is very tenuous reasoning because unvaccinated people have lived in the US since before the truth about vaccines became more widely known and the US has never been short of visitors.


"Measles is a highly contagious infectious disease that can be fatal in small children," Washington Governor Jay Inslee said in a statement. "The existence of more than 26 confirmed cases in the state of Washington creates an extreme public health risk that may quickly spread to other counties."

Comment: It's notable that contagions of all kinds seem to be increasing around the world, see: Also check out SOTT radio's: The Health & Wellness Show: Vaccines and Flu Shots


Biohazard

Ebola "popping up unexpectedly and proving impossible to control"

Ebola
© Isaac Kasmani/AFP/Getty Images
A member of the medical staff of the Ebola Treatment Unit at the Bwera General Hospital in western Uganda on Dec. 12, 2018.
Nearly 600 people have contracted Ebola since last August in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, making the ongoing outbreak the second largest in the 43-year history of humanity's battle with the deadly virus. And there is a genuine threat that this Congo health crisis-the 10th the African nation has faced-could become essentially permanent in the war-torn region bordering South Sudan, Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi, making a terrible transition from being epidemic to endemic.

Despite having a tool kit at its disposal that is unrivaled-including a vaccine, new diagnostics, experimental treatments, and a strong body of knowledge regarding how to battle the hemorrhage-causing virus-the small army of international health responders and humanitarian workers in Congo is playing whack-a-mole against a microbe that keeps popping up unexpectedly and proving impossible to control. This is not because of any special attributes of the classic strain of Ebola-the same genetic strain that has been successfully tackled many times before-but because of humans and their behaviors in a quarter-century-old war zone.

Comment: Outbreaks of all kinds appear to be catching health professionals unawares, and that with Ebola it may partly due to the unique situation in the region, but there are also other factors to consider that could be effecting its virulency and transmission, see:


Black Cat 2

Third cat in Wyoming diagnosed with bubonic plague

Domestic Cat
© Shutterstock
Outdoor cats can be exposed to harmful bacteria — including plague — through interactions with infected wildlife (the cat pictured is not suffering from plague).
A house cat in Wyoming was recently diagnosed with bubonic plague; it is now the third feline in the state found to have contracted the deadly disease in the past six months.

While the word "plague" conjures images of epidemics wiping out medieval communities in their entirety, the bacterial infection actually occurs naturally in wild rodents (and their fleas) in the western U.S. and rarely affects people, according to local health officials. Prairie dogs are common carriers of the disease.

The cat, named Kaycee, was "known to wander outdoors," representatives with the Wyoming Department of Health (WDH) said in a statement on Jan. 4. Kaycee's roaming habits likely exposed it to an animal that was already infected with the plague-causing bacterium Yersinia pestis, which is typically transmitted between animals through flea bites, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Once called "the Black Death" and "the great pestilence," plague emerged from Asia and decimated Europe during the 14th century, wiping out an estimated 33 percent to 50 percent of the population. Plague then traveled to North America and Australia in 1900, and today, plague is found on every continent except Antarctica, Live Science previously reported.

Biohazard

Norovirus outbreak sickens hundreds of cruise ship passengers and crew members

Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas

Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas
One of the world's biggest cruise ships, Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas, is returning to a Florida port a day early and giving passengers full refunds of their fare after 277 guests and crew members were hit with an outbreak of norovirus as it sailed to Jamaica.

Cruise line spokesman Owen Torres told The Associated Press, "We think the right thing to do is get everyone home early rather than have guests worry about their health."

He says the ship will return to Port Canaveral on Saturday. It sailed from there Sunday on a seven-day Caribbean cruise.

Passengers took to social media on Wednesday, tweeting they were forced to stay onboard after docking in Falmouth, Jamaica, for what was supposed to be a day of excursions.

Torres said returning a day early gives the cruise line "more time to completely clean and sanitize the ship" before it sails again.

Comment: From Britain to Egypt to the Americas, Norovirus and other reports of sickness due to contaminated food have been in the news a lot recently:


Bug

Mecca's Grand Mosque plagued by swarm of locusts

mecca locusts
© Photo The New Arab
Cleaning crews clear locusts out of the Grand Mosque in Mecca, January 7, 2019.
A massive swarm of locusts plagued Mecca, Saudi Arabia, earlier this week, prompting authorities at Islam's holiest site to launch a cleaning operation to remove them.

Videos posted to social media showed the insects swarming around cleaners and worshipers in the city's Grand Mosque, where millions of Muslim pilgrims congregate every year.

"Specialized teams have been directed to work in the fight to eliminate these insects," authorities in Mecca said, according to the Al-Araby Al-Jadeed news site.

Comment: In the same week swarms of locusts devastated farm land in Mexico.

And for more, check out SOTTs monthly documentary SOTT Earth Changes Summary - December 2018: Extreme Weather, Planetary Upheaval, Meteor Fireballs




Info

Greenland Crater - The 12,000 year old comet that erased ancient civilization

Ancient Impact
© ScreenCapture/YouTube
NASA recently discovered of a massive, 19-mile (31km) wide crater, found hidden underneath Greenland's Hiawatha Glacier. This crater is the result of an asteroid impact, from a nearly 1 mile-wide mountain of iron, weighing somewhere around, get this, 11-12 BILLION tons, and was traveling at approximately 12 MILES per second - which is equivalent to more than 43,000 miles per hour - when it slammed into the earth some 12,000 years ago - And...with the mind-boggling force of essentially a 700-megaton bomb. And without a doubt, THIS is the reason why there is so much mystery and why we know so little about lost Ancient human civilization