Killer E.coli 'being spread by terrorists' --
The Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure has warned it would not be beyond al-Qaida to launch a food-based attack. (Some believe it is much more sinister than that and not by al-Qaida.) The deadly E.coli outbreak could have been spread by terrorists, say doctors. They fear rogue groups may have deliberately implanted the killer germ into fresh produce. Poisoning food supplies would be the perfect way for terror groups to be taken seriously, experts believe.
Germany's superbug is weaponized with Bubonic Plague DNA ---
"On Tuesday [May 31], the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung reported that [leading German E. coli researcher Helge] Karch had discovered that the O104:H4 bacteria responsible for the current outbreak is a so-called chimera that contains genetic materia from various E. coli bacteria. It also contains DNA sequences from plague bacteria, which makes it particularly pathogenic." ...Helge Karch, the director of the Robert Koch Institute (Germany's CDC) who heads a consulting laboratory at the Münster University Hospital in Germany, says that he has discovered that the super killer contains DNA from E. coli, which is what he expected. It also contains DNA from the organism that causes plague, responsible for wiping out a quarter of Europe's population during the Black Death (1348-1351). Bubonic plague is caused by Yersinia pestis and is one of the most feared of all disorders.
SINCE IT APPEARS WE HAVE A "SOUPED UP," WEAPONIZED E-COLI, HERE ARE SOME PLAGUE FACTS:
How do people get plague?
- By the bites of infected fleas
- By direct contact with the tissues or body fluids of a plague-infected animal
- By inhaling infectious airborne droplets from persons or animals, especially cats, with plague pneumonia
- By laboratory exposure to plague bacteria
What are the signs and symptoms of plague?
When a person is bitten by an infected flea or is infected by handling an infected animal, the plague bacteria move through the bloodstream to the lymph nodes. The lymph nodes swell, causing the painful lumps ("buboes") that are characteristic of bubonic plague. Other symptoms are fever, headache, chills, and extreme tiredness. Some people have gastrointestinal symptoms.
If bubonic plague goes untreated, the bacteria can multiply in the bloodstream and produce plague septicemia (septicemia plague), severe blood infection. Signs and symptoms are fever, chills, tiredness, abdominal pain, shock, and bleeding into the skin another organs. Untreated septicemia plague is usually fatal.
Pneumonic plague, or plague pneumonia, develops when the bacteria infect the lungs. People with plague pneumonia have high fever, chills, difficulty breathing, a cough, and bloody sputum. Plague pneumonia is considered a public health emergency because a cough can quickly spread the disease to others. Untreated pneumonic plague is usually fatal.
How soon after exposure do symptoms appear?
Symptoms usually begin within 2 to 6 days after exposure to the plague bacteria. http://www.dhpe.org/infect/plague.html
AS COMPARED TO E-COLI:
How can you get sick from the harmful type of E. coli ?
- E. coli infections can be spread by many food sources such as undercooked ground beef, unpasteurized apple cider and milk, ham, turkey, roast beef, sandwich meats, raw vegetables, cheese and contaminated water.
- Once someone has consumed contaminated food or water, this infection can be passed from person to person by hand to mouth contact.
- E. coli does not survive in the air, on surfaces like tables or counters and is not spread by coughing, kissing or normal, everyday interactions with friends and neighbors.
- Poor hand washing and improper food handling are factors that lead to the spread of this illness.
Date: Mon, 6 Jun 2011 14:45:56 -0700
Subject: er, maybe not .... Germany backtracks on sprouts as E. coli source
E. Coli as a Biological Weapon
E. Coli has long been considered by biological weapons experts as a weapon of choice.
For example, in the 1960s, as revealed by a declassified MoD report, the Porton Down laboratory in Ireland conducted trial bio-warfare tests with the bacteria near two population centers – Swindon and Southampton.
The tests involved releasing the bacteria into the environment and the report referred to the bacteria as especially valuable in that “highly satisfactory results” could be achieved with such a weapon.
In 2002, the CDC studied disease reporting laws for twenty-four biological agents that could be used as weapons, including anthrax, botulism and E. coli.
In developing the list of agents, officials focused on factors like morbidity and mortality, the stability of the agent that allows for distribution in a population, the ease with which it can be mass produced, and especially the use of such an agent to create public fear and “potential civil disruption.”
In 1997, Dr. R.E. Hurlbert of Washington State University wrote that genetically modifying E. coli in particular is not very difficult, but the ability for public health officials to tell the difference has become very difficult.
“Defining the target systems and the nature of a particular BW is not difficult, but deciding if it is a ‘natural biological product’ or one constructed by genetic engineering is becoming more difficult as our knowledge and skills improve in these technologies. For the purposes of this discussion I define a ‘Natural BW’ as one obtained from wild type strains or from selected mutants randomly induced spontaneously or by classical mutagenic procedures (e.g. exposure to UV or X-ray irradiation, chemical mutagenesis etc.). Therefore a ‘genetically engineered BW’ is defined as one constructed by the nonrandom modification of a gene.”
So then the question remains, is this latest E. coli strain a natural mutation, or one that was artificially created for use as a weapon?
EHEC is Known as a “Genetic Workhorse”
This problem is compounded by the fact that E. coli can be genetically modified very easily. In the list of biological agents at cbwinfo.com, the online information warehouse on chemical and biological weapons, the EHEC toxin (the one from the current outbreak that is causing HUS), only became recognized as a threat in the 1980s.
In its original form, the verotoxin could be especially fatal for children and the elderly. It is also listed as:
“…the workhorse of molecular genetics and genetic engineering. It may be relatively easy to modify EHEC into a potent biological weapon using relatively unsophisticated technology.”
One thing terrorists are known for is being especially creative in building weapons using unsophisticated technology. And the fact that this latest outbreak includes this “genetic workhorse” suggests that this could potentially be the work of biological terrorism.
Authorities Struggle to Find the Source
According to an LA Times report, scientists have conducted genetic sequencing and identified the two strains of E. coli that this latest outbreak is a genetic product of.
This new strain has more “aggressive genes”, making it a dangerous, potentially deadly weapon. According to WHO food safety expert Hilde Kruse, this strain is “…more virulent and toxin-producing than the many E. coli strains people naturally carry in their intestines.”http://www.topsecretwriters.com/2011/06/mutant-strain-of-e-coli-bacteria/
Germany backtracks on sprouts as E. coli source
AP – A man balances on a pile of cucumbers collected for destruction at a greenhouse compound outside Bucharest, …
By JUERGEN BAETZ and DAVID RISING, Associated Press Juergen Baetz And David Rising, Associated Press – 11 mins ago
HAMBURG, Germany – First they pointed a finger at Spanish cucumbers. Then they cast suspicion on sprouts from Germany. Now German officials appear dumbfounded as to the source of the deadliest E. coli outbreak in modern history, and one U.S. expert called the investigation a "disaster."
Backtracking for the second time in a week, officials Monday said preliminary tests have found no evidence that vegetable sprouts from an organic farm in northern Germany were to blame.
The surprise U-turn came only a day after the same state agency, Lower Saxony's agriculture ministry, held a news conference to announce that the sprouts appeared to be the culprit in the outbreak that has killed 22 people and sickened more than 2,330 others across Europe, most of them in Germany, over the past month.
Andreas Hensel, head of Germany's Federal Institute for Risk Assessment, warned, "We have to be clear on this: Maybe we won't be able anymore to identify the source."
Last week, German officials pointed to tainted cucumbers from Spain as a possible cause, igniting vegetable bans and heated protests from Spanish farmers, who suffered heavy financial losses. Researchers later concluded the Spanish cucumbers were contaminated with a different strain of E. coli.
"This investigation has been a disaster," Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, told The Associated Press.
"This kind of wishy-washy response is incompetent," he said, accusing German authorities of casting suspicion on cucumbers and sprouts without firm data.
The European Union's health Commissioner defended German investigators, saying they were under extreme pressure as the crisis unfolded.
"We have to understand that people in certain situations do have a responsibility to inform their citizens as soon as possible of any danger that could exist to them," John Dalli said in Brussels.
In outbreaks, it is not unusual for certain foods to be suspected at first, then ruled out.
In 2008 in the U.S., raw tomatoes were initially implicated in a nationwide salmonella outbreak. Consumers shunned tomatoes, costing the tomato industry millions. Weeks later, jalapeno peppers grown in Mexico were determined to be the cause.
In 2006, lab tests mistakenly pointed to green onions in an E. coli outbreak at Taco Bell restaurants in the U.S. Investigators considered cheddar cheese and ground beef as the source before settling on lettuce.
With the culprit in the European crisis still a mystery, authorities stopped short of giving sprouts a clean bill of health. German Agriculture Minister Ilse Aigner reiterated the warning against eating sprouts, as well as tomatoes, cucumbers and lettuce, which have also come under suspicion.
The agriculture ministry for Lower-Saxony state said 23 samples from the organic sprouts farm tested negative for the highly aggressive, "super-toxic" strain of E. coli that is killing people, with tests on 17 more samples still under way.
"A conclusion of the investigations and a clarification of the contamination's origin is not expected in the short term," the ministry said.
However, the negative test results do not mean that previous sprout batches weren't contaminated.
"Contaminated food could have been completely processed and sold by now," ministry spokeswoman Natascha Manski said.
In that case, the number of people stricken might keep rising for at least another week as the produce that could be causing the infections may have already been delivered to restaurants and grocery stores. More than 630 of the victims are hospitalized with a rare, serious complication that can lead to kidney failure. In a major difference from other E. coli outbreaks, women — who tend to eat more fresh produce — are by far the most affected this time, said Germany's national disease control center, the Robert Koch Institute. The majority of them are between 20 and 50 years old and tend to be highly educated, very fit, and lead healthy lifestyles, Friedrich Hagenmueller of Asklepios Hospital in Hamburg said.
"What do they have in common: They are thin, clean, pictures of health," he said.
Ulrike Seinsche is one of the women diagnosed with the serious complication that can lead to kidney failure.
"I really got scared when the blood results came and were so bad and the doctors became hectic," she said from her hospital bed in Hamburg.She was quickly transferred into intensive care, got cramps and suffered "real death fear," she said. "Now, I'm actually stable."
Osterholm, whose team has investigated a number of foodborne outbreaks in the U.S., said authorities should trace foods back to their suppliers — which is exactly what led German officials to single out the sprout producer, linking it to several restaurants where more than 50 people fell ill.
Since 1996, about 30 outbreaks of foodborne illness in the U.S. have been linked to raw or lightly cooked sprouts. Sprouts were also implicated a 1996 E. coli outbreak in Japan that killed 12 people and reportedly sickened more than 9,000.
At an EU health ministers meeting Monday in Luxembourg, Germany defended itself against accusations it had acted prematurely in pointing to Spanish cucumbers.
"The virus is so aggressive that we had to check every track," said Health State Secretary Annette Widmann-Mauz.
The EU will hold an emergency meeting of farm ministers Tuesday to address the crisis, including a ban imposed by Russia on all EU vegetables.
The E.coli Outbreak in Europe is BioWar ???