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Old 02-19-2009, 06:24 PM   #1
Bob
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Default UMDNJ facility loses two plague-infected dead lab mice

Some light off-season morsels to chew-on -- or maybe that's a "bad" image to conjure up?

by Ted Sherman and Josh Margolin/The Star-Ledger Saturday February 07, 2009, 11:20 AM
The frozen remains of two lab mice infected with deadly strains of plague were lost at a bio-terror research facility at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey in Newark -- the same high security lab where three infected mice went missing four years ago.

The latest incident, which led to an FBI investigation, occurred in December but was never disclosed to the public.
University officials said there was no health threat. The remains of the dead mice were contained in a red hazardous waste bag being stored in a locked freezer, according to the researchers. But an animal care supervisor could not account for them while preparing to sterilize and incinerate them.

In September 2005, the same lab discovered three live mice infected with plague missing from multiple cages. Officials then said the animals had likely died.

University officials Friday said they immediately contacted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the FBI and state health officials in December upon learning of the missing remains in December, but withheld information from the public until The Star-Ledger began asking questions. They subsequently released a report about the matter in a mass e-mailing to the university community, saying they did not want employees, students and professors to read about the incident in the newspaper.

FBI officials confirmed the December incident.

"As a matter of protocol in this type of matter, the FBI was called in to investigate and we determined there was no nexus to terrorism or risk to public health," said Bryan Travers, a spokesman for the FBI office in Newark.

The state Department of Health and Senior Services said it had also been notified of the situation, "and we are very confident that the appropriate authorities are investigating," said spokeswoman Donna Leusner.

University officials defended their decision to keep the matter confidential.

"If this were a public health risk, we couldn't afford to keep it a secret," said Diane Weathers, UMDNJ's senior vice president for university advancement and communications. "Plague sounds like it is Black Death. It would have been irresponsible to raise concerns."

The UMDNJ facility -- the Public Health Research Institute -- is a leading center for research on infectious diseases. It has a Level 3 biocontainment lab that works with diseases that are lethal or can cause serious health problems, including bubonic plague, pneumonic plague, West Nile virus and typhoid fever.
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Old 02-19-2009, 06:25 PM   #2
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Yes...cooties will kill us all...


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Old 02-19-2009, 06:38 PM   #3
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Seeing as how it's not the 14th century, I'm not too concerned...
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Old 02-19-2009, 06:40 PM   #4
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Bubonic plague exists in the American Southwest, not killing millions of people. If they release some small pox, then let me know.


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Old 02-19-2009, 06:40 PM   #5
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Yes...cooties will kill us all...


If true, I wonder how this level III facility keeps open, considering the trend?

Most likely not a threat, but do wonder if they cant seem to keep track of little mice -- how they will figure out where they last left that pesky vile of bird flu?
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Old 02-19-2009, 06:43 PM   #6
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If true, I wonder how this level III facility keeps open, considering the trend?

Most likely not a threat, but do wonder if they cant seem to keep track of little mice -- how they will figure out where they last left that pesky vile of bird flu?

Not worried about flu. Worried about smallpox or some wierd strain of Ebola or airborne HIV. If you didnt know it already, this does ram home the point that the Federal Gov't is good at 2 things. ****ing things up and collecting taxes...

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Old 02-19-2009, 06:44 PM   #7
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Bubonic plague exists in the American Southwest, not killing millions of people. If they release some small pox, then let me know.


There are different strains, I dont imagine, its the same type you describe, but could be wrong. Agreed that its likely not an imediate threat -- except in the trend of "loosing" things at this place.
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Old 02-19-2009, 07:02 PM   #8
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Not worried about flu. Worried about smallpox or some wierd strain of Ebola or airborne HIV. If you didnt know it already, this does ram home the point that the Federal Gov't is good at 2 things. ****ing things up and collecting taxes...


As long as we are having the perverse conversation -- the Bird flu, is what the 1918 flu was (that wiped out about 50 million.) The type that pops up in Asia every so often does not infect humans easily (one has to literally breathe it deep into one's lungs before it can multiply) But once it does infect, it kills at a very high rate. I cant remember the exact percentage, but it was well over 70%. Whereas the strain in 1918 killed only 3%-5% of those it infected (and still killed millions.) Sometime in 1917 that strain of bird flue bird flu had mutated to spread like the current flu (through any mucus membrane, nasal passages etc.)

Experts obviously worry the same type of mutation does not repeat itself.
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Old 02-19-2009, 07:10 PM   #9
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As long as we are having the perverse conversation -- the Bird flu, is what the 1918 flu was (that wiped out about 50 million.) The type that pops up in Asia every so often does not infect humans easily (one has to literally breathe it deep into one's lungs before it can multiply) But once it does infect, it kills at a very high rate. I cant remember the exact percentage, but it was well over 70%. Whereas the strain in 1918 killed only 3%-5% of those it infected (and still killed millions.) Sometime in 1917 that strain of bird flue bird flu had mutated to spread like the current flu (through any mucus membrane, nasal passages etc.)

Experts obviously worry the same type of mutation does not repeat itself.

Weak people in 1918.


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Old 02-19-2009, 07:19 PM   #10
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Weak people in 1918.


Yeah, wimps mostly between 17 - 35.

The more healthy they were -- the more likely the Bird flu would kill. As for some reason the virus triggers a hyper-response in the immune system -- with older, "weaker" folks, like me they do not have the same level of reaction and live through it.

But on more depressing news, I heard a rumor that the Broncos fired Mike Shanahan, and replaced him with Jimmy Neutron.
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Old 02-19-2009, 09:19 PM   #11
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http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/7837594.stm

Is plague still a killer?
Page last updated at 10:57 GMT, Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Reports that "black death" has swept through an al-Qaeda camp in north Africa, killing dozens of trainees, are unproven, but the story highlights how plague has never been wiped out.

One of the "oldest identifiable diseases known to man", according to the World Health Organization (WHO), plague tends to be associated in the developed world with the Middle Ages.

The most notorious pandemic, during the 14th Century, wiped out about a third of the population of Europe.

Caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis, plague is primarily a disease of wild rodents that is spread by their fleas. It can be transmitted to humans by flea bites or contact with animals infected with the bacterium.

"There are diseases circulating like this in the world's rodents, and in many cases having very little impact on them," says Mike Begon, professor of ecology at the University of Liverpool.

"You could only get rid of plague if you got rid of all the rodents, and you are never going to do that."

But Professor Begon adds: "When diseases can jump the species barrier to infect humans they can have a devastating effect."

As well as the medieval pandemic which led to the name "black death", because of victims' blackened skin, there have been two other worldwide outbreaks in the 6th Century and as recently as the second half of the 19th Century.

WHO still reports between 1,000 and 3,000 cases of plague every year; its figures show 182 deaths from the disease in 2003.

The organisation says plague remains endemic - present in a community at all times, but occurring in low frequency - in many countries in Africa, in the former Soviet Union, the Americas - including parts of the US - and Asia.

"There is this presumption that it is confined to history, but certainly that's not the case," says Professor Begon.

Plague can be fatal to humans left untreated in 30 to 60% of cases, and WHO says "rapid diagnosis and treatment is essential".

If diagnosed in time, almost all plague patients can be cured with treatment including antibiotics.

Symptoms

The sudden onset of flu-like symptoms is usually the first sign of the disease, including fever, chills, head and body-aches and weakness, vomiting and nausea.

The most common form of the disease, bubonic plague, usually causes swelling and tenderness in the lymph gland in the neck.

The disease's least common but most deadly form, pneumonic plague, can be inhaled and transmitted between humans without involvement of animals or fleas.

Pneumonic plague involves infection of the lungs, causing a severe respiratory illness with symptoms including coughing up blood and breathing difficulty.

"It's about how fast you can get to it. If you can recognise it fast enough you can contain it," says Philippa Strong, a PhD student at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

Suspected sufferers should be hospitalised and medically isolated, and testing should be carried out on people who have been in close contact with them.

Miss Strong warns that research must continue into the plague bacterium, which could develop resistance to current treatments.

"You ignore these things, think they are going away, then they become a problem again," she says.

"It's a case of 'know your enemy'. We need to carry on researching it. If we can understand more about the bacterium, we will find other ways to treat it."
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Old 02-19-2009, 09:25 PM   #12
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This isn't a huge threat unless someone out there is manufacturing an antibiotic resistant plague bacterium - which wouldn't surprise me.

That said if you happen to get pneumonic plague call a priest. Even with great medical care you are very unlikely to survive.

Bird Flu is definitely the most concerning on the worldwide health disaster front - much more so than smallpox since at we do have a vaccine for the latter. Most of the viral hemmorhagic fevers(Ebola, Marburg) kill so quickly that containment is usually effective enough to contain widespread outbreaks.
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Old 02-19-2009, 09:39 PM   #13
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probably healthiest thing in NJ.
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Old 02-20-2009, 12:03 PM   #14
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This isn't a huge threat unless someone out there is manufacturing an antibiotic resistant plague bacterium - which wouldn't surprise me.

That said if you happen to get pneumonic plague call a priest. Even with great medical care you are very unlikely to survive.

Bird Flu is definitely the most concerning on the worldwide health disaster front - much more so than smallpox since at we do have a vaccine for the latter. Most of the viral hemmorhagic fevers(Ebola, Marburg) kill so quickly that containment is usually effective enough to contain widespread outbreaks.
Its almost in the category of: "its better to not know anything, if there's nothing one can do to fix it."
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Old 02-20-2009, 12:41 PM   #15
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plague on the east coast? not really a bad thing.
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Old 02-20-2009, 12:47 PM   #16
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plague on the east coast? not really a bad thing.
That means we may actually get some Broncos in the Hall of Fame, it is not all bad.
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Old 02-20-2009, 01:22 PM   #17
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Someone took them to the Faiders locker room
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Old 02-20-2009, 01:27 PM   #18
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No big deal.

Now if it was the 1917 version of H5N1, then we'd be in serious trouble.
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Old 02-20-2009, 02:31 PM   #19
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No big deal.

Now if it was the 1917 version of H5N1, then we'd be in serious trouble.
Ahhhh yes. H5N1... big trouble...

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Old 02-20-2009, 03:53 PM   #20
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No big deal.

Now if it was the 1917 version of H5N1, then we'd be in serious trouble.
No, the type in Asia, if it mutates, like the 1917 did to spread the same way is much, much worse. 3% mortality vs. 50+
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Old 02-20-2009, 04:01 PM   #21
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No, the type in Asia, if it mutates, like the 1917 did to spread the same way is much, much worse. 3% mortality vs. 50+
I wrote that out poorly, I'm sayin' if H5N1 becomes human transmissible the way H1N1 was, we're in trouble. Influenza is no joke.
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Old 02-20-2009, 04:43 PM   #22
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even if it isnt deadly , how in the **** do you lose mice like that ?
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