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Sun, 18 Nov 2018
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Plagues

Biohazard

Mysterious, massive and deadly algae bloom 'whirlpool' discovered in the Baltic Sea

baltic algae whirlpool

On July 18, 2018, the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8 acquired a natural-color image (above) of a swirling green phytoplankton bloom in the Gulf of Finland, a section of the Baltic Sea. Note how the phytoplankton trace the edges of a vortex; it is possible that this ocean eddy is pumping up nutrients from the depths. For scale, a ship is shown. The swirling bloom is at least 15 miles across, which means New York City's Manhattan Island could fit inside it with a little room to spare.
The mysterious algae bloom 'whirlpool' in the Baltic Sea so big it could cover Manhattan

NASA has revealed an incredible image of a gigantic 'whirlpool' of algae in the Baltic sea.

Every summer, phytoplankton spread across the northern basins of the North Atlantic and Arctic Oceans, with blooms spanning hundreds and sometimes thousands of kilometers.

Blooms this summer off of Scandinavia seem to be particularly intense, NASA said.

The swirling bloom is at least 15 miles across, which means New York City's Manhattan Island could fit inside it with a little room to spare.

Researchers are unsure what is causing the strange pattern.

Comment: Every year there are more dead zones, the gulf stream becomes more sluggish, the jet stream meanders more erratically, storms increase and our climate becomes cooler - and it seems our planet has been through all of this before: Worldwide ocean anoxia driven by global cooling was possible factor in previous mass extinctions

See also:


Attention

9 dead following listeria outbreak - UK supermarkets recall potentially tainted frozen vegetables

frozen veg

The recall includes bags of frozen sweetcorn and frozen mixed vegetables
Six of the UK's most popular supermarkets have been forced to recall various frozen vegetable products due to concerns over possible listeria contamination.

Aldi, Lidl, Iceland, Sainsbury's, Tesco and Waitrose have all recalled frozen veg, including packets of sweetcorn and mixed vegetables, because they could contain Listeria monocytogenes, which can cause listeriosis.

Health organisations recently warned that an outbreak of the bacterial infection across Europe had been linked to frozen vegetables that were not cooked properly.

Comment: Bacterial and viral outbreaks appear to be on the increase: Be sure to check out:


Sun

Severe drought affecting 40% of Inner Mongolia, China - Plague of rats take over 4 million hectares

Mongolian township.
© Reuters
File photo of a Mongolian township.
Persistent drought in the remote northwestern Chinese region of Inner Mongolia has caused a rat plague now affecting more than 4 million hectares of grassland, an area the size of the Netherlands, the official Xinhua news agency said.

Rodents are a common problem throughout Inner Mongolia's huge and sprawling prairies, and adapt relatively well to dry weather.

Comment: This follows extremely harsh winters in Inner Mongolia which have resulted in mass deaths of cattle. And we're seeing similar erratic patterns all over the planet so, while the overall trend is towards global cooling, there's also an increase in droughts, wildfires, heatwaves, and violent storms bringing increased wave heights, microbursts, deadly hail and epic flooding: Also check out SOTT radio's: Behind the Headlines: Earth changes in an electric universe: Is climate change really man-made? as well as SOTTs' monthly documentary: SOTT Earth Changes Summary - May 2018: Extreme Weather, Planetary Upheaval, Meteor Fireballs


Microscope 2

Giant viruses invent genes found no where else on Earth

Pandoravirus quercus virus
© IGS-CNRS/AMU
Pandoravirus quercus, as viewed through an electron microscope. The scale bar equals 100 nanometers.
Giant viruses may invent genes and proteins found nowhere else on Earth, new research suggests.

As their name implies, giant viruses are big - as big as bacteria, and more than twice the size of typical viruses, scientists have previously reported. Giant viruses have more complex genomes than some simple microbial organisms, and many of their genes code for proteins found only in giant viruses, according to past studies.

These so-called orphan genes puzzled scientists, but a new study may suggest where they come from. In three new species of Pandoraviruses - a family of giant viruses described in 2013 - these genes originated in the viruses themselves. The giant viruses were like factories, churning out novel genes and proteins - though the origin and purpose of this prolific gene creation is still a mystery, the study authors wrote.

Even before the discovery of giant viruses, viruses occupied a questionable position on the tree of life: They contain much of the cellular material found in living organisms, including DNA or RNA, but they lack cell structure and cannot replicate outside a host - two key criteria for defining life.

Comet 2

Deadly Nipah virus has no cure, little is known about its transmission, and it has re-emerged in India

nipah virus
At least nine people in southern India have died in cases linked to an outbreak of the rare and extremely deadly Nipah virus, according to a report by the BBC.

Nipah is considered a newly emerging deadly virus - scientists only found out that it could jump from bats to other species, including humans, within the past 20 years.

The disease is currently incurable and can be transmitted from person to person. It has killed between 40 percent and 75 percent of infected people in most outbreaks.

Comment: There seems to be an increase in the spread of infectious diseases so one would do well to look to past plagues for clues: For more on the outbreak of plagues and planetary upheaval, check out SOTT radio's: Behind the Headlines: Who was Jesus? Examining the evidence that Christ may in fact have been Caesar!


Health

Three tourists confirmed as first global cases of 'super gonorrhoea' after unprotected sex in Asia

Gonorrhoea
© PA
Three tourists are the first global cases of a new strain of 'super-gonorrhoea' which is resistant to antibiotics, a new report has warned.

Two Australians and the British man picked up the sexually-transmitted disease (STD) while having unprotected sex in south-east Asia.

The Brit's case came to light earlier this year, when Public Health England confirmed he had been infected, before later revealing he had been successfully treated.

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) report, published this month, confirmed that two more tourists, both from Australia, picked up the infection.

Comment: See also: A 'very smart bug': Thanks to misuse of antibiotics, gonorrhea is becoming untreatable


Attention

Australia flesh-eating ulcer 'epidemic' a mystery, say doctors

Buruli ulcer
© DANIEL O'BRIEN
Victoria has seen a spike in recent cases of the Buruli ulcer
Doctors in Australia have called for urgent research into why a flesh-eating ulcer has become a "worsening epidemic" in the state of Victoria.

Local cases of Buruli ulcer, a skin disease most commonly found in Africa, have surged by 400% in the last four years, experts say.

Infections have also become more severe and spread to new areas.

Doctors do not know how to prevent the disease, which is caused by bacteria that breaks down tissue.

WARNING: Graphic image below

A record 275 new infections were recorded the state last year, marking a 51% increase on 2016.

Infectious diseases expert Dr Daniel O'Brien said cases of the Buruli ulcer, or Mycobacterium ulcerans disease, had become "frighteningly more common and also more severe" in the region.

It was unclear why the ulcer, typically found in tropical areas, had emerged in the temperate climate of Victoria, he said.

Microscope 1

Scientists warn plague 'hiding in plain sight'

Great Plague of London
© Getty Images
Eighteenth Century engraving showing a death cart unloading bodies into a mass grave during the Great Plague of London
The bacteria that cause plague, or the Black Death, could be lying dormant in common soil and water sources, posing a serious public health risk, scientists have warned.

The finding, published in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases, could explain why plague suddenly re-emerges without warning in countries such as Madagascar and even the United States.

In the middle ages the Black Death swept through Europe, killing an estimated 75 to 200 million people. It is no longer a global threat but the new research may explain its occasional outbreaks across the world.

David Markman, from Colorado State University who led the study, said that plague is endemic in many different parts of the world and its origins are still not well understood.

Comment: See also: New Light on the Black Death: The Viral and Cosmic Connection


Health

Flu season in the US causing supply shortages with some areas seeing double the patients

England Britain flu cold

Statistics from Public Health England show a 2.5 fold rise in cases in the last two weeks
The flu has hit so hard and heavy this year, some doctors are running out of supplies.

"I have heard from private practices that they are running short on the rapid flu tests," says Allegheny General Hospital Emergency Medicine physician Dr. Tom Campbell. "I think they could make some decision on who it was most important to get the test on, who was most at risk, and use the same number they might have left."

Restocking these 10-minute tests isn't so easy.

"We went to purchase more because of the use we've had this year, and they're not available," says Dr. James DeAngelo, of Allergy and Clinical Immunology Associates.

Comment: Flu season is proving to be particularly brutal this year:


Info

DNA analysis finds food poisoning bacteria caused Mexican epidemic

Europeans storming Mexico painting
© Prisma/UIG via Getty Images
A 16th Century engraving depicting Europeans storming Mexico. Pathogens not shown.
It is well known that when Europeans arrived in the New World they brought with them appalling diseases to which the indigenous population, having never been exposed to them before, were particularly susceptible. Very large numbers died of from illnesses including smallpox, measles, mumps and influenza.

These acknowledged killers, however, were comparatively late arrivals in Europe's brutal colonisation.

In Mexico, at least, another disease laid waste to the locals, starting in 1545, very soon after the invaders landed. And with the next disease came a new word, growing out of the local tongue: cocoliztli, meaning pestilence, or epidemic.

Between 1545 and 1550, a disease roared through the indigenous Mexican population, killing an estimated 800,000. And while there is plenty of evidence to support the fact that the epidemic took place, until now there has been precious little to identify the pathogenic culprit.

Researchers led by Ashlid Vagene of the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Jena, Germany, have now unmasked the killer. To do so they extracted biological material from between the teeth of 24 corpses interred in a cocoliztli cemetery in the town of Teposcolula-Yucundaa in the Oaxaca region of Mexico.