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Swine Ebola - No Joke!


As if "swine flu" wasn't bad enough, Scientific American is reporting that the Ebola virus has been detected in domestic pigs in the Philippines. The particular strain of the virus, Reston ebolavirus, is not known to cause fatal haemorrhagic fever in humans, but is still rated a class 4 pathogen by the US Center for Disease Control (it's highest rating) because of the extreme fatality rate and absence of effective treatment of the disease caused by other Ebola viruses. One farmhand who worked with the pigs has also tested positive for R.ebolavirus, but is asymptomatic.

In this case it seems like most likely that the pigs caught the disease from the human rather than the other way round. However that pigs can catch and potentially pass on the organism to humans is an unexpected, and worrying, development. Michael McIntosh of the Department of Agriculture expressed concern not only that the Reston strain might mutate into something more deadly in its new host, but that the other disease-causing strains might also be using pigs as a reservoir. "What is the level of risk?" said McIntosh, "We really don't know" (Scientific American Article) (Paper in Science).

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they were breeding hogs with human DNA to hopefully provide an unlimited supple of blood parts [platlets,plasma, etc.] and organs for transplant like kidneys,hearts and livers [possibly even lungs and intestines]. I don't know where they are or if they abandoned this. Hogs are the most simular to humans in many systems and reproduce so quickly that it was hoped this would end the shortages in blood and organ supplies. Its posible that cross over diseases are causing unforseen setbacks to this project.

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  • Elders (Moderators)

I have read that research was going on into whether pig's organs could be used for transplantation into humans, as they're closer to us in a lot of respects than any other non-primate animal. And they can't (and shouldn't!) use primate animals as donors.

Humans have lived in close proximity with domesticated animals for centuries. Are we now seeing these kinds of problems of cross-over diseases because we have the knowledge/technology, so maybe they've always been there but weren't noticed before or were isolated cases, or is it because we're meddling too much. I don't particularly mean the GM stuff, because that's very heavily controlled and scrutinised. I'm more thinking about how modern farming techniques pushes large numbers of animals into close proximity, much more than in the past, and more than would be natural in the wild. And then they get pumped full of antibiotics and growth hormones.

Back in the Middle Ages, villagers often had one or two domesticated animals, maybe a pig or two, maybe a cow or goat, and those animals were often housed in winter in the same house as the family. I haven't read about any cross-over diseases being suspected by historians although, obviously, the available records of back then are minimal.

So, I am wondering whether it really us humans who are inadvertently creating problems that wouldn't otherwise exist. I haven't looked recently at the evidence for HIV/AIDS being the result of human consumption of primate meat, but I do recall quite vividly a documentary about the destruction of the rainforests, and how the crews are being sent out there to chop down the native trees to clear space for, I think, pine trees of some kind because those are cash crops. The food supply lines for those crews are a cost-burden for the employers, so the crews have to rely on whatever meat they can kill, including primates. A potentially double disaster waiting to happen.

We humans are the most intelligent creatures on the planet, but there's plenty of evidence of all kinds that we're quite often not very smart.

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Guest Blueboy

The Army is Building a Secret Island in the Chesapeake Bay

By Cory Jones Jul 04, 2012

"Mud Island" [hd video]

This time-lapse satellite video shows how the army has built a huge island in the Chesapeake Bay. According to Gizmodo, the Army has been building this island since 1998. These images were taken by a Landsat satellite, which is managed by NASA and the U.S. Geological survey.

It appears that the Army began building sand dikes to establish the perimeter of the island, named "Poplar Island." But it has been nicknamed "Mud Island" because it is made out of the mud and sand dredged up from the nearby Baltimore Harbor.

While no one know exactly what the purpose of Polar Island is, it is already starting conspiracy theories that it is an evil lair for devious governmental plans.

According to the government, it is home to 170 species of birds. Which sounds exactly like something the government woud say when they're trying to cover up something.

Is it a sinister headquarters for secret governmental tests? Or is it the world' most expensive wildlife refuge? We may never know, but the architecture plans were also released in 2009. (We love how these are called the "Master Plan")


And here is an aerial shot provided by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers


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