Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘plague

Fatal bacteriology labs: Where is OSHA to investigate safety?

There are 232,000 employed in bio-technology labs in the US.

Scientists manipulating fatal micro-organisms to fight bacteriological, virus, and genetically modified cells “terrorist” attacks are succumbing to serious health hazards.  Many scientists and personnel in these labs have died from handling E.Coli, plague, anthrax bacterium trying to find corresponding vaccines and anti-bodies.

A study related to virulent agents registered 1,500 serious cases between 1979-2004.

There is this Federal Occupational Safety and Health Agency (OSHA), created in 1972 with vast power for enforcing safety in private workplaces, trying to set new standards and regulations for these emerging hazardous workplaces such as bacteriological labs. Government, Federal and States, institutions, military, and public university are outside the jurisdiction of OSHA though the main regulations are applied for the safety of employees and workers.

The National Institute of Health (NIH) deals mainly in the health and infectious diseases or hospitals, pharmaceutical, and medical institutions.

The job of OSHA is far-reaching but not funded proportionally to its responsibilities.

OSHA has only 2,000 inspectors to covering 7 million private enterprises employing 130 million workers.

Thus, 80,000 workplaces and factories are somehow inspected yearly.  The “descent” of OSHA for inspection of targeted factories is mainly based on statistics.  Rate of injuries, fatal accidents, and level of risks in certain categories of work trigger actions.

Companies that failed to keeping records of injuries or were lax in sending periodic statements will be harassed for months on and their administration  and managers tied up in inquiries, responding to questions, and resolving unsafe practices.

Current director of OSHA, David Michaels, declared: “Security and safety of employed people (in labs that create live micro-organisms) should not be sacrificed at the altar of progress.  The current standards are not sufficient for the safety of people working in an environment polluted with infectious agents.”

The standards are applicable to labs and factories manipulating chemical products.  Thus, OSHA has launched a campaign of investigation and surveying the levels of risks of infectious agents.   Suggestions and recommendations will be collected and appropriate standards promulgated on a consensus basis with barons of industries.

In the US, it is the flooding of the judicial system in cases levied against enterprises that gets institutions into high gears.

So far, Becky McCain (52 years) who worked as molecular biologist at Pfizer (at Groton and employing 3,500 individuals) confirmed that she was paralyzed by a genetically modified virus.  The jury warded her $1.37 million because Pfizer fired McCain when she raised the unsafe and insecure working conditions in the company.

Since university and military labs do not fall within the OSHA register of injuries then, it is unknown how many cases similar to McCain is prevalent in the industry.  The federal government and the military have been experimenting with biological warfare since the surrender of Japan in 1945.

The Japanese bacteriological team or Unit 731 of General Ishii has been incorporated in the US military.  China and North Korea suffered again of bacteriological warfare by the US in 1950 after witnessing the Japanese warfare in 1944.

Stephen Endicott and Edward Hagerman relied on declassified archives in the US and China when they published “The biological warfare; 1998”

Cholera: The Greek Thucydides Story (February 24, 2009)

            In 430 BC Sparta was besieging Athens. People were flocking from the rural areas to Athens for protection. In this war, Greece and Athens experienced a cholera epidemic.

The Greek historian Thucydides related the horror.  He wrote:

“The plague had hit several counties and city of Lemnos was one of them.  Physicians were of no help because they had no idea what the epidemic was about: they were the first to be infected since they communicated with patients. People prayed, consulted oracles, and then gave up.

They say that the epidemic started in Ethiopia, swept through Egypt, Libya, and then hit the port of Pirea and Athens. People wanted to believe that Sparta poisoned the water wells, but casualties were heaviest in the higher areas of Athens.

People agreed that this year was very mild in ordinary sickness.  Individuals were stricken suddenly, whether they were very healthy or sickly.  The symptoms begin with acute heat in the head; the eyes are red inflamed,  the pharynx and the tongue are color of blood; respiration irregular; breath is fetid.  

The next phase starts with sneezing and the illness descends to the chest accompanied with violent coughing.  Then the patient experiences acute stomach ache, hiccups without vomit and then terrible convulsions.  The skin is not hot but reddish and covered with ulcers. 

The inside of the body is a volcano; nobody could suffer any clothing and it does not mater how often one drinks he is always thirsty.  Many died in wells trying to get refreshments.  Insomnia was the last stroke.

            During the first 7 days that the body is fighting off the disease, patients show signs of resilience and vigor. If patients go over the seven days then the disease reaches the intestine followed with diarrhea and atonement.  Those who outlived the disease were left with physical scars like lost fingers, lost eyes, and many loss of memory.

Most patients went into despair at the setting of the disease and contagion spread by mutual caring of parents and friends. The greatest numbers of victims are those who were confined in their residences and were thus abandoned. 

The most compassionate of “nurses” were those who managed to survive the disease on the belief that they could not relapse and that they would never succumb to any other disease.

            Those who suffered the worst were the rural inhabitants because they huddled in huts with no aeration.  The sacred places were the favorite locations to die.  All the customs for inhumations of cadavers were broken: people threw the dead in the fire reserved for other cadavers. Disorder was the name of the game.

Excesses in securing pleasure and voluptuousness were practiced by the most of sobers. Life and fortune were equally precarious. Nobody cared for divine wrath or later legal judgments since they were to die before then.  People wanted to experience what they failed to do so far.”

I had this funny idea: why the Athenians did not organize a regiment of its plagued citizens who were afflicted less than 7 days ago (since they are still active) and launch them to attack the Spartans while unfurling banners saying “We the plagued Athenians are attacking!”  It would be nice to observe the reactions of the brave Spartans.

Note:  I stated in a previous article on cholera that it appears from historical accounts that the afflicted Mogul armies did not experience the plagued until they reached humid regions and during summer

I wondered whether cholera blooms when people sweat profusely in unhealthy conditions. The consequence is that body fluid would be less saturated with salt or other alkaline compounds and thus, the cholera bacteria thrives abundantly and splits to a threatening cut off point. 

I suggest an experimental design for testing my hypothesis.  We prepare 8 conditions of body fluids; one very diluted in salt, one very concentrated, 3 conditions representing Mediterranean basin body fluids during the hot season, and 3 conditions from Mongolia and Central Asia during the hot seasons. 

If funding is appropriate, we could expand the experiment to include samples of body fluids during the hot seasons in regions close to where major rivers flow into seas and oceans such as the Amazon, the Congo, the Nile, the Mississippi, Ganges, Yang Tse, the Tiger and Euphrates, and the Indus Rivers. Good luck.

Cholera or Pest or Plague: Never vanished and blooming again (February 23, 2009)

Cholera is back in force and threatening to spread in many neighboring States to Zimbabwe.  Mugabe of Zimbabwe refuses to step down as President and his State is suffering great famine, miseries, and the plague.  Thousands of people have contracted cholera and over 7,000 have already succumbed.   Cholera cannot be controlled; it could not be through the ages and current progress is not at a par with that plague.  Why?  Cholera has the capacity to mutate: an element of AND code new functions for the benefit of the bacteria, modifying its genome and increasing its adaptation to treatments or new antibiotics.

Alexandre Yersin, a French physician and bacteriologist, discovered in 1894 that Cholera is a bacteria but he failed to come up with a curative serum. Yersin still believed that rodents (rats) are the main culprit for transmitting this disease.  Only in 1898 did Paul-Louis Simond confirmed that cholera is transmitted by flea that quit dead rats to other greener pastures by sucking blood elsewhere.  Rats are infected with cholera but they are not affected or transmit it because they rarely bite humans.  Once a man is afflicted with cholera then the main transmitter of the epidemics are men.

So far, medical research has not mapped out all the means of transmissions of the disease.  It is possible that home pets, cats and dogs, carrying flea might be transmitters of the epidemic.  What is known is that older generations of antibiotics such as streptomycin, chloramohenicol, and tetracycline are increasingly inefficient against the bacteria of cholera.  The antibiotic based on fluoroquinolone might be of more effectiveness.

Bubonic plague has a long history, through the ages, to devastating more than a third of populations.  Cholera lands suddenly, kills for a short period and then disappear for no known reasons.  The best remedy was to flee as quickly, as far away as is possible and not to return any time soon.  The Jews in Judea were decimated during David.  The troops of the Assyrian Monarch Sanhareeb, putting siege to Jerusalem in 701 BC, suffered the plague. Greece and Athens in 430 BC was devastated by cholera as Sparta was laying siege to Athens. Ancient Rome was plagued.  Cholera hit Byzantium during Justinian for one century and traveled around the Mediterranean basin; Pope Pelage II succumbed to cholera in 590.  In 1346, the Mogul troops, laying siege to Caffa in Crimea, were plagued and they catapulted infested bodies over the rampart of Caffa.  The Genoa defenders fled Caffa and transmitted the plague to all Europe; Spain, Marseille, Paris, England are contaminated and then Russia ten years later. France lost over a third of its population and Spain as many if not worse.

Cholera crashed London in 1665; the English monarch and his family paid a long visit to the French Monarch, The plague subsided when fire engulfed the better parts of the poorer quarters of London in 1666.  The last time, before Zimbabwe, that cholera expressed its virulence was in 1894 in south east China.

History accounts shows that cholera was carried by the Mogul troops arriving from Mongolia and Central Asia. As they sweep into relatively humid regions then plague settles in during summertime. India, Iran, Iraq, and Syria suffered plague during the Mogul successive invasions. I cannot but figure out a few hypotheses.  Cholera infects people but does not bloom in dry arid regions.  Cholera is virulent in humid regions and during the hot seasons.  Could it be because people sweat profusely? Especially because people failed to wash or take bathes in older days?  Or is it that since sweat excretes most of the salt in the body then cholera has an ideal medium of less salty body fluids to flourish and concentrate during the ripe seasons?




February 2023

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