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Sat, 28 Nov 2020
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Plagues


Microscope 2

A mysterious disease is striking American beech trees

nematode
© USDA/ARS/ELECTRON & CONFOCAL MICROSCOPY UNIT/LYNN CARTA/GARY BAUCHAN/CHRIS POOLEY/MYCOLOGY AND NEMATOLOGY GENETIC DIVERSITY AND BIOLOGY LABORATORY; COLORIZATION BY IT SPECIALIST/SOYBEAN GENOMICS AND IMPROVEMENT LABORATORY
Some researchers believe a nematode native to Asia is causing a deadly disease in American beech trees.
A mysterious disease is starting to kill American beeches, one of eastern North America's most important trees, and has spread rapidly from the Great Lakes to New England. But scientists disagree about what is causing the ailment, dubbed beech leaf disease. Some have recently blamed a tiny leaf-eating worm introduced from Asia, but others are skeptical that's the whole story.

Regardless of their views, researchers say the outbreak deserves attention. "We're dealing with something really unusual," says Lynn Carta, a plant disease specialist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in Beltsville, Maryland.

American beech (Fagus grandifolia), whose smooth gray trunks can resemble giant elephant legs, can grow to almost 40 meters tall. It is the fifth most common tree species in southern New England and in New York state — and the single most common tree in Washington, D.C. Its annual nut crop provides food for birds, squirrels, and deer.

Comment: It's notable that the wild Beech trees were already suffering from a fungus. What is even more concerning is that cases where pathogens are affecting life on our planet appear to be on the rise, and that includes everything from trees to frogs to deer to humans. One wonders whether these unusual diseases and epidemics are related to the extremes in weather; solar minimum; the influx of cosmic rays; a decrease in immunity; mutation and adaptation; foreign viruses, and so on:


Microscope 1

CDC raises alarm over surge of drug-resistant superbugs infecting 3 million Americans annually, killing 4 people every hour

Colonies of E. coli bacteria
© Reuters/CDC Handout (file photo)
Colonies of E. coli bacteria grown on an agar plate are seen in a microscopic image.
Resilient "superbug" pathogens are seeing a boom in the United States, with lethal infections on the rise even as health officials take "aggressive" steps to rein them in, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) said in a new report.

In its latest "Antibiotic Resistance Threats" assessment, the CDC found an alarming rise in drug-resilient infections, surging from 2 to nearly 3 million per year since its last report in 2013. Those infections now kill 35,000 people each year, adding 12,000 annual fatalities to the CDC's previous assessment.

"Germs continue to spread and develop new types of resistance, and progress may be undermined by some community-associated infections that are on the rise," the report says, adding that "more action is needed to address antibiotic resistance."

Comment: For a deeper understanding of germs and infections, read Paul W. Ewald's groundbreaking book, "Plague Time: The New Germ Theory of Disease".


Biohazard

Pneumonic plague diagnosed in two people in China

pneumonic plague
© AP
Yersinia pestis bacteria, the cause of plague.
Two people in China have been diagnosed with plague, the latest cases of a disease more commonly associated with historical catastrophe.

Plague is caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis and can arise in three forms - a lung infection, known as pneumonic plague; a blood infection, known as septicemic plague; and a form that affects the lymph nodes, called bubonic plague.

The latter form is perhaps the most famous, and was behind several pandemics including the Black Death of the late middle ages, which is estimated to have killed up to 60% of the European population.

The two new cases being treated at a hospital in Beijing are of the pneumonic form, which is even more serious than bubonic plague.

Comment: See also:


Biohazard

Dengue fever cases surge 200% in Mexico in 2019

mosquito
© CC0
The number of confirmed dengue fever cases, where people contracted the disease or died from it, in Mexico has seen a fourfold surge to 15,084 over the past year, the epidemiological service of the country's Health Ministry said in a report.

Last year, 3,494 cases were registered, according to the report, issued on Friday.

Notably, around half of the confirmed cases have been registered in the states of Veracruz and Jalisco.

However, the number of unconfirmed dengue fever cases this year is 129,500, as of October, compared to 39,900 cases last year.

Comment: Mexico, like much of the planet, is seeing an increase in extreme weather, particularly torrential rainfall, and so one wonders whether at least one factor in the surge of dengue fever cases is the dramatic shift in weather patterns:


Biohazard

Rare virus spread by mosquitos that can cause personality changes found in NY & Massachusetts

mosquito
© Thomson Reuters
Eastern equine encephalitis is a potential deadly but rare disease that causes brain damage.
If you needed another reason to use bug spray this summer, here it is: A rare virus that causes brain damage has been confirmed in mosquitoes in New York and Massachusetts, health officials reported last week.

Oswego County officials said the eastern equine encephalitis virus, or EEE, was discovered in two mosquito pools from a swamp about 20 miles north of Syracuse in a town called West Monroe, according to Syracuse.com.

The Boston Globe reported the virus has also been confirmed in mosquitoes south of Boston — in Easton, Freetown, and New Bedford. No human infections have been reported yet in either state this season.

Comment: Of late there has been a surge in the number of related stories coming out of the US that includes: water-borne, brain eating amoeba, severe meat allergies from tick bites, mass food poisonings, rising anti-biotic resistant STD's, along with a plethora of other outbreaks: Also check out SOTT radio's:


Biohazard

Brain-eating amoeba kills man after North Carolina water park visit

Naegleria fowleri

Naegleria fowleri
A North Carolina man has died from a rare brain-eating amoeba after swimming in a manmade lake at a water park, officials said Wednesday. The state Department of Health and Human Resources said in a news release that the infection was caused by the amoeba naturally present in warm freshwater during the summer.

The man-made lake at Fantasy Lake Water Park in Hope Mills, Cumberland County, North Carolina, is pictured in a promotional image from the park's website. Fantasy Lake Water Park

The unnamed person became sick after swimming in Fantasy Lake Water Park in Hope Mills in Cumberland County on July 12.

Comment: The rise of flesh-eating bacteria and other deadly infections are likely correlated to extreme temperatures, over prescription of anti-biotics, a population whose health is in general decline, pollution, but there are likely other compounding factors. And perhaps the explosion in algae blooms, fish die offs and outbreaks of other kinds could help shed some light on the situation.

See also:


Biohazard

Man dies from flesh-eating bacteria he contracted on fishing boat

Vibrio Vulnificus

Vibrio Vulnificus
A 78-year-old man in Texas managed to contract a flesh-eating bacteria while he was out on a boat fishing — with no visible open wounds or compromised immune system — and was dead less than two weeks later, his daughter says.

"I'm still a little shocked and in disbelief," explained Kim Sebek, daughter of San Marcos resident Jerry Sebek, who died on June 25.

"Dad was a wonderful family man who loved to hunt and fish and do things out in the water," she told mySA.com. "We've been coming here (Turtle Bay) for years and this is just an unfortunate thing that happened."

According to Kim, Sebek never swam in the water and had no visible cuts on his body at the time.

Comment: Deadly water-borne infections appear to be on the rise but, as of yet, no acknowledgement or explanation for why this may be is forthcoming from the authorities:


Biohazard

Man dies from flesh-eating bacteria after swimming in Florida

swamp
© FILE PHOTO Pixabay
A man from Tennessee has died from being infected by flesh-eating bacteria after taking a few swims in Florida. His daughter blames the hospital for ignoring her warnings that her dad could have necrotizing fasciitis.

William Bennett died after visiting his daughter Cheryl Bennett Wiygul in Florida last week. They swam in a number of different bodies of water, including a beach in Destin, then at Turkey Creek and at a swamp in Boggy Bayou.

Cheryl had heard reports of people becoming infected by the flesh-eating bacteria in the state and ensured her father took extra precautions, as he had previously suffered from cancer and could have a compromised immune system.

Comment: Whilst this man appears to have been vulnerable, outbreaks of all kinds appear to be on the rise all over the planet:


Biohazard

Lone star tick bite causes severe meat allergy in US farmer

tick
A tick turned Kristie Downen into a vegan.

"It was the last thing on my mind," the Missouri farmer tells Springfield's KSPR TV of her "life-changing experience ... [it's] unbelievable that a tick can make you allergic to food."

Downen was bitten by a common "lone star" tick four years ago — but doctors were unable to diagnose the array of symptoms she developed until this year.

"It got to the point where my stomach would swell up, I was vomiting," Downen says. "The rashes were real bad, it was getting to the point [I told doctors], 'You're missing something, I'm still dying.' "

Comment: There are various ways one could can attempt to ameliorate the problems of these tick borne diseases. Although the threats ticks pose appears to only be increasing: Also check out SOTT radio's: The Health & Wellness Show: A Close Look at Lyme Disease


Attention

Britain sees worrying rise in Asian Hornets - 80 nests found

Asian Hornets
© GETTY
KILLER: Asian Hornets can deliver a fatal sting to humans
The insects - which can grow up to 1.6 inches - have powerful stings which can be fatal to humans with just a single strike if the person is allergic.

Record numbers of nests have been found on Jersey as there are fears they will move onto the mainland.

The fight is on-going on the Channel Island and is seen as a crucial battle-ground to stop the spread.

Just one of the foreign menaces can eat up to 50 bees a day and their impact on honey production could be devastating.

Comment: See also: Deadly Asian hornets invading Europe, scientists adding electronic trackers to enable destruction of nests