Posts Tagged Virus
June 30, 2012
By Cole Moreton
9:00PM GMT 25 Feb 2012
The Schmallenberg virus causes lambs to be born dead or with serious deformities such as fused limbs and twisted necks, which mean they cannot survive.
Scientists are urgently trying to find out how the disease, which also affects cattle, spreads and how to fight it, as the number of farms affected increases by the day.
So far, 74 farms across southern and eastern England have been hit by the virus, which arrived in this country in January.
A thousand farms in Europe have reported cases since the first signs of the virus were seen in the German town of Schmallenberg last summer.
The National Farmers Union has called it a potential “catastrophe” and warned farmers to be vigilant. “This is a ticking time bomb,” said Alastair Mackintosh, of the NFU. “We don’t yet know the extent of the disease. We only find out the damage when sheep and cows give birth, and by then it’s too late.”
It is unclear exactly how the disease arrived in Britain, but the leading theory is that midges carried the virus across the Channel or North Sea in the autumn. However, scientists cannot yet rule out transmission of the disease from animal to animal.
Infected ewes do not show any symptoms of the virus until they give birth, with horrific results. Farmers have described delivering the deformed and stillborn animals as heartbreaking.
The lambing season has only just begun, which means that the full impact of the disease will not be felt until the weather warms up and millions more animals are born.
On the Continent, some farms have lost half of their lambs. So far the worst hit in Britain have lost 20 per cent, according to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).
Approximately 16 million lambs are born in Britain every year and sell at market for about £100 each. The effect of the disease on farms that are already struggling in the downturn could be severe.
“For any business to lose 20 per cent of your stock would be a huge blow,” said Mr Mackintosh. “For a farmer to lose 20 per cent of your flock is catastrophic. If it was 50 per cent you would be put out of action.
“I was talking to one who has 10,000 sheep. If he loses even five per cent of the animals born this year, that’s a hell of a lot of lambs. I know another who says 10 per cent of his ewes have become barren. He has 6,000 ewes, so that is 600 animals producing nothing.”
The Food Standards Agency has sought to allay any fears about eating lamb, although little is known about the virus so far.
The Agency said: “Any risk to consumers through the food chain is likely to be low. No illness has been reported to date in humans exposed to animals infected with Schmallenberg virus.”
The worst affected counties are Norfolk, Suffolk, East Sussex and Kent, but the virus has spread all along the south coast to Cornwall.
Farmers fear the disease may spread to larger flocks in the north of England, Wales and Scotland. In Europe, Germany, Holland and France have suffered worst, while recent cases have been reported in Italy and Luxembourg.
John, a farmer from East Sussex who wanted to remain anonymous, said he had lost 40 out of 400 lambs so far, at a cost to his business of more than £4,000.
“I’ve had to put more lambs down in the past month than I have done in the past 20 years. Every one is a serious blow to our finances. But it’s an emotional thing too,” he said.
There are also fears that the virus may be seen later this year among cows, which have a longer gestation period.
Five of the British farms have seen cattle affected, with calves aborted at six months of pregnancy.
Cows are thought to be more robust than sheep and therefore more resistant, but Schmallenberg virus could still reduce milk yields and put pressure on a dairy industry that is already suffering, says Mr Mackintosh. “From what I hear, we are likely to see weak calves that take a lot of expense and nursing to get going again. Having to do that will hit a business hard.”
The last confirmed midge-borne virus to hit the British farming industry was bluetongue in 2007, but a series of trade restrictions and a vaccine averted disaster.
This time there is no vaccine, and Defra says a ban on imports would not work, because the disease “is already here”. A spokesman said: “Defra is taking this seriously. We track emerging diseases. There is work going on across Europe and the amount we know is improving rapidly. We are keeping everything under review.”
Its website says “farmers and vets should remain vigilant and report any suspicious cases to AHVLA [the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency] for testing as part of our enhanced surveillance”. However, farmers are not yet legally required to notify authorities of an outbreak, leading some in the industry to fear it may already be much more widespread than figures suggest.
Nigel Miller, the president of the NFU in Scotland said: “The escalation and range of cases is deeply concerning and some experts are now suggesting that the volume of cases being seen is an indication that this is, in fact, the second year of infection.
“If that is the case then it raises the worrying prospect that the virus may have an effective overwintering mechanism.”
The AHVLA identifies Schmallenberg as one of a group of viruses “typically primarily spread by biting insect vectors, such as midges and mosquitoes, although the routes of Schmallenberg virus transmission have not yet been confirmed. The potential for direct transmission (ie direct from one animal to another) is therefore, as yet, unknown.”
It said: “There is unlikely to be a risk to human health from Schmallenberg virus; but this is not yet certain.”
‘Science’ editor says he plans to publish controversial H5N1 avian flu study in defiance of government recommendations
Friday, February 24, 2012
By: Ethan A. Huff
[NaturalNews] For the past few months, the journals Nature and Science have been deliberating with both the research community and the U.S. government about how to handle the publishing of sensitive information about a militarized strain of H5N1 avian flu. The U.S. National Security Advisory Board for Biotechnology (NSABB), a group of scientists and government security officials, had recommended that the journals redact certain portions of the research several months ago, but Dr. Bruce Alberts, editor of Science, now says, in essence, that he is tired of waiting for a solution, and plans to publish the full findings very soon.
It was widely reported last fall that Dr. Ron Fouchier and his colleagues from Erasmus Medical Centre in the Netherlands had successfully created a virulent strain of H5N1 capable of transmitting between mammals, including between humans. The research, which was submitted to both Nature and Science for publishing, includes critical details about how the deadly strain was created, which many say represents a serious bioterrorism threat if it ends up in the wrong hands (http://www.naturalnews.com/034228_bioterrorism_flu_strain.html).
But many scientists and media talking-heads are insisting that scientists need access to this information right away in order to begin developing vaccines for H5N1, a job they apparently cannot do if all the details about the research are not published immediately. Advocates claim that publishing the full details is no big deal because they have already been widely circulated at meetings, seminars, and conferences. But this argument actually confirms the opposite, as there is no need to publish the full research “for the sake of science” if such research has already been widely disseminated.
Militarized H5N1 avian flu strain could kill billions of people, suggest researchers
Meanwhile, the public, one-third or more of whom could be wiped out by this unthinkably pernicious virus, has not been given a voice in the matter about what to do with the findings. It is questionable enough that the U.S. government has been warning about mutant H5N1 for years, only now to have it conveniently appear in a lab as part of deliberate “research” — but now the recipe for making the human-transmissible strain could become widely available to the public (http://www.huffingtonpost.com).
“The people to catch H5N1 flu so far tended chickens or worked with poultry closely enough that they were constantly exposed to the virus,” writes Lynn Klotz in a recent Huffington Post piece. “By contrast, the so-called 1918 flu virus that killed millions in the United States and a total of 50 million around the world was incredibly contagious among humans. But it killed only about two percent of those infected.”
“Imagine a new virus that combined the lethality of the H5N1 flu with the contagiousness of the 1918 pandemic strain. That is the scenario we may now be facing.”
Thursday, February 23, 2012
By: Jonathan Benson
[NaturalNews] For the past several months, there has been an ongoing debate about whether or not to publish controversial research about a new militarized and highly-virulent strain of H5N1 avian flu capable of spreading between mammals, including between humans. The U.S. National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB) holds the position that certain details about how the virus was created should be withheld from publishing, while various others in the scientific community, many of which appear to work for vaccine interests, are demanding full disclosure.
The issue stems from research conducted by Dr. Ron Fouchier and his colleagues from Erasmus Medical Centre in the Netherlands that resulted in the deliberate creation of a weaponized form of H5N1 that spreads between mammals. Prior to this research, H5N1 transmission was limited primarily to birds, as natural forms of the virus do not typically afflict mammals (http://www.naturalnews.com/034228_bioterrorism_flu_strain.html).
But after years of warning the public that H5N1 would one day magically transform into a “super virus” capable of killing billions of people, the U.S. government and others conveniently saw their prediction come true in the form of an intentional “transformation” brought about by research, the details of which many are pushing to have published for the whole world to see. And based on recent reports, those pushing for their release appear to have dollar signs in their eyes, as gaining access to how the virus was made will allow them to create vaccines for this super virus once it is “accidentally” released into the wild.
Problem – Reaction – Solution: Militarized H5N1 could generate billions of dollars for vaccine industry while killing off billions of people
At a recent closed meeting between influenza experts and U.S. security officials that was organized by the World Health Organization (WHO), only one member of the NSABB, infectious disease expert Paul Keim of Northern Arizona University, was in attendance. And according to reports, Keim “got the hell beat out of him” by many of the others in attendance with interests in developing and promoting new vaccines for H5N1.
“It was a closed meeting dominated by flu people who have a vested interest in continuing this kind of work,” said a scientist close to the NSABB, to Reuters. These attendees included the lead researchers of the study; Dr. Bruce Alberts, Editor-in-Chief of the journal Science who indicated recently that he plans to publish the full research; those who funded the research and provided viruses for it; and several bioethicists and directors from laboratories that specialize in influenza research.
Dr. Alberts, of course, used to be president of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) from 1993 – 2005 before taking on his current role as head ofScience. NAS, of course, is part of the same National Academies as the Institute of Medicine, which we exposed back in August 2011 as being directly tied to the military and medical industrial complexes that promote vaccines (http://www.naturalnews.com/033455_Institute_of_Medicine_vaccines.html).