OH CR@P!

stubeeef

macrumors 68030
Original poster
Aug 10, 2004
2,702
2
LINK!

This is the kind of stuff that gives me the chills. I swear, if the US and the rest of the world don't take this as a red flag, and destroy the bio weapons labs, we are going to be living (dying) the book The Stand .

LONDON *—*Thousands of scientists were scrambling Tuesday at the urging of global health authorities to destroy vials of a pandemic flu (search) strain sent to labs in 18 countries as part of routine testing.

The rush, urged by the World Health Organization (search), was sparked by a slim, but real, risk that the samples could spark a global flu epidemic. The vials of virus sent by a U.S. company went to nearly 5,000 labs, mostly in the United States, officials said.

"The risk is relatively low that a lab worker will get sick, but a large number of labs got it and if someone does get infected, the risk of severe illness is high and this virus has shown to be fully transmissible," WHO's influenza chief, Klaus Stohr (search), told The Associated Press.

It was not immediately clear why the 1957 pandemic strain, which killed between 1 million and 4 million people — was in the proficiency test kits routinely sent to labs.

It was a decision that Stohr described as "unwise," and "unfortunate."

That particular bug was "an epidemic virus for many years," Stohr said from the U.N. health agency's headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. "The risk is low but things can go wrong as long as these samples are out there and there are some still out there."

The 1957 strain has not been included in the flu vaccine since 1968, and anyone born after that date has no immunity to it.

Dr. Nancy Cox, chief of the influenza branch at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, said her agency was notified of the situation Friday morning. She also said officials strongly doubt someone deliberately planted the dangerous germ or that this was an act of bioterrorism.

"It wouldn't be a smart way to start a pandemic to send it to laboratories because we have people well trained in biocontainment," she said.

The concern over the shipment of pandemic flu virus to thousands labs renews questions about the safe handling of deadly germs — an issue that led to toughened U.S. rules after anthrax was sent in the mail in 2001, killing five Americans.

Most of the flu samples — 3,747 — were sent starting last year at the request of the College of American Pathologists, which helps labs do proficiency testing. The last shipments were sent out in February.
 

Sutekidane

macrumors 6502a
Jan 26, 2005
936
1
ooooh, The Stand, I really liked that book, and I LOVED the movie.. All 6 hours of it.
 

mad jew

Moderator emeritus
Apr 3, 2004
32,199
5
Adelaide, Australia
That's one of the scariest things I've read all day (and it's midday over here in Australia already!) :eek:

It's kinda crudely Darwinian though for us to wipe out millions thanks to our own stupidity/ignorance...
 

tpjunkie

macrumors 65816
Nov 24, 2002
1,250
2
NYC
When i was reading that article, I was wondering if in 20 years i'll think back and go "and thats how it all began..."
 

Les Kern

macrumors 68040
Apr 26, 2002
3,063
76
Alabama
I've been saying for 30 years that it won't be the bomb that does us in, but the bug. Mis-use of antibiotics, the current Marburg scare, HIV that's resistant to everything and continuing to mutate, necrotizing fascitis popping up OUTSIDE hospitals, prions.... The list goes on... and we may not.
 

Mechcozmo

macrumors 603
Jul 17, 2004
5,215
2
Les Kern said:
I've been saying for 30 years that it won't be the bomb that does us in, but the bug. Mis-use of antibiotics,
I agree here. My dad (surgeon) has to deal with people truly needing antibiotics but they are often not as effective or ineffective because people now pop a pill if they feel even just a bit funny.

Not good. :(
 

stubeeef

macrumors 68030
Original poster
Aug 10, 2004
2,702
2
Abstract said:
Yeah, a disease is worse than a bomb. Explosions don't spread across wide areas.....not more so than disease. Disease can spread around the world in 2 or 3 days.
I am thinking that something between Twelve Monkeys and The Stand is just trying to happen. This frieghtens me to a large degree, mostly because it enfringes on my concept of HOPE. luckily Psalm 27 verse one and two comfort me.
It is difficult to raise 3 kids with cr@ppy scenarios like this in my thoughts.
 

stubeeef

macrumors 68030
Original poster
Aug 10, 2004
2,702
2
iGary said:
I'll have to read the book.
Hands down my favorite book of fiction!

Classic battle of good vs evil, in an apocalyptic scenario.
 

Mr. Anderson

Moderator emeritus
Nov 1, 2001
22,561
0
VA
Makes you wonder what they were thinking....damn, no one born after 1957 would have immunity if it got out, that would be billions...and then all the older people would survive...what a strange world that would be...bleh.

D
 

MongoTheGeek

macrumors 68040
Mr. Anderson said:
Makes you wonder what they were thinking....damn, no one born after 1957 would have immunity if it got out, that would be billions...and then all the older people would survive...what a strange world that would be...bleh.

D
Bah. That epidemic wasn't all that fatal the first time it went around and ABOSULTELY noone had immunity as opposed to now when half the population does.

Add into that general improvements in health care and treatments will cut any pandemic significantly. Zinc pills, anti-virals such as theraflu. Add into that the fact that modern society with its economic excesses allows for people to take sick leave. The days of the great plagues are over. Now is the age for slow killers.

If I am wrong, everyone can come laugh at my grave.
 

Mr. Anderson

Moderator emeritus
Nov 1, 2001
22,561
0
VA
MongoTheGeek said:
Bah. That epidemic wasn't all that fatal the first time it went around and ABOSULTELY noone had immunity as opposed to now when half the population does.
I realize that, it just made me think if it got really bad or it was somehow mutated so that all the breeding individuals happened to die.....

D
 

stubeeef

macrumors 68030
Original poster
Aug 10, 2004
2,702
2
MongoTheGeek said:
Bah. That epidemic wasn't all that fatal the first time it went around and ABOSULTELY noone had immunity as opposed to now when half the population does.

Add into that general improvements in health care and treatments will cut any pandemic significantly. Zinc pills, anti-virals such as theraflu. Add into that the fact that modern society with its economic excesses allows for people to take sick leave. The days of the great plagues are over. Now is the age for slow killers.

If I am wrong, everyone can come laugh at my grave.
I see this more as a red flag, one that says, fix things now or else. Why we still have and save samples of bio weapons slays me. Do this stuff in the space station, but keep it off the planet.
I am fearful of the avian flu, a couple of good mutations and watch the frick out.
I am 1000x more worried about bio/chem terrorist attacks than nuke ones. Maybe because of my lack of knowlege, or maybe if I knew more, I would be more worried.
For an organization to mail out 3700 containers of killer flu, is beyond me.
 

aloofman

macrumors 68020
Dec 17, 2002
2,206
0
Socal
Sutekidane said:
ooooh, The Stand, I really liked that book, and I LOVED the movie.. All 6 hours of it.
The first half of the book was really excellent, but the last couple hundred pages were just stupid. I didn't watch the miniseries, but I hear the ending had the same flaws as the book.
 

Don't panic

macrumors 603
Jan 30, 2004
5,541
696
having a drink at Milliways
MongoTheGeek said:
Bah. That epidemic wasn't all that fatal the first time it went around and ABOSULTELY noone had immunity as opposed to now when half the population does.

Add into that general improvements in health care and treatments will cut any pandemic significantly. Zinc pills, anti-virals such as theraflu. Add into that the fact that modern society with its economic excesses allows for people to take sick leave. The days of the great plagues are over. Now is the age for slow killers.

If I am wrong, everyone can come laugh at my grave.
a few million people seems fairly fatal to me.
however i agree that the risks in this are overblown, in part for the reasons you mentioned, in part because this stuff was sent to labs who are used to deal with contagious samples and know what to do with them.
still, pretty dum mistake.
especially the one they sent to Spiderhole#5, Kirkuk, IQ
 

stubeeef

macrumors 68030
Original poster
Aug 10, 2004
2,702
2
Don't panic said:
a few million people seems fairly fatal to me.
however i agree that the risks in this are overblown, in part for the reasons you mentioned, in part because this stuff was sent to labs who are used to deal with contagious samples and know what to do with them.
still, pretty dum mistake.
especially the one they sent to Spiderhole#5, Kirkuk, IQ
Of course you're not nervous, you're "Don't panic".
 

fox2005

macrumors member
Dec 31, 2004
88
0
Lima, Peru
MongoTheGeek said:
Bah. That epidemic wasn't all that fatal the first time it went around and ABOSULTELY noone had immunity as opposed to now when half the population does.

Add into that general improvements in health care and treatments will cut any pandemic significantly. Zinc pills, anti-virals such as theraflu. Add into that the fact that modern society with its economic excesses allows for people to take sick leave. The days of the great plagues are over. Now is the age for slow killers.

If I am wrong, everyone can come laugh at my grave.
Where should we look for your local obituarys? I'll be looking forward to it...
 

wdlove

macrumors P6
Oct 20, 2002
16,568
0
AS mentioned by Mechcozmo, the problem is the over use of antibiotics for years. Patients have become accustomed to going to a physician, they think they haven't got proper care without getting an antibiotic. Patients actually get angry. The other problem is the patients don't finish their prescription. After they start feeling better they stop taking the mediation. Antibiotics are usually prescribed of 7 - 14 days. When its stopped early it allows the reaming bacteria to replicate. They are the ones that have changed genetically. That is how antibiotic resistant strains are formed. Methcillin resistant strains have become too common. This is of great concern to physicians.
 

Drgnhntr

macrumors regular
Nov 4, 2004
101
0
San Diego
Viruses like this are kept around to try and develope vaccines, cures, etc. I don't know why they need to mail around 3000 samples of it, but there are uses to keep them around.

Bugs like these don't make very good bioweapons, they spread too easily. Bugs don't care about borders, nationality, or the religion of the person they infect. There are very few protections from it backfiring.
 

Mechcozmo

macrumors 603
Jul 17, 2004
5,215
2
wdlove said:
AS mentioned by Mechcozmo, the problem is the over use of antibiotics for years. Patients have become accustomed to going to a physician, they think they haven't got proper care without getting an antibiotic. Patients actually get angry. The other problem is the patients don't finish their prescription. After they start feeling better they stop taking the mediation. Antibiotics are usually prescribed of 7 - 14 days. When its stopped early it allows the reaming bacteria to replicate. They are the ones that have changed genetically. That is how antibiotic resistant strains are formed. Methcillin resistant strains have become too common. This is of great concern to physicians.
Exactly... people think they deserve something to swallow along with the fact that they then don't swallow all of it. :mad: Damn lawyers...

"Sir, you don't need antibiotics. Just rest and fluids."
"I'm not so sure... I'm calling my lawyer-- I don't think you know what you're doing!"

Right.... 10 years of med school for what again? :mad: :mad:
 

rainman::|:|

macrumors 603
Feb 2, 2002
5,438
2
iowa
MongoTheGeek said:
Bah. That epidemic wasn't all that fatal the first time it went around and ABOSULTELY noone had immunity as opposed to now when half the population does.

Add into that general improvements in health care and treatments will cut any pandemic significantly. Zinc pills, anti-virals such as theraflu. Add into that the fact that modern society with its economic excesses allows for people to take sick leave. The days of the great plagues are over. Now is the age for slow killers.

If I am wrong, everyone can come laugh at my grave.
This is true, this isn't a really nasty virus, as they come. And with today's medicine, I'm willing to bet the fatality count would be very low in developed countries. But I also agree that it's a good reminder of why we need to be careful with viral research, I don't know if I can say it should be ended, because it's a very powerful tool for medicine... they're talking about designer viruses that could destroy AIDS or cancer... the weapons uses generally come as offshoots of this research. But I'm sure the government does have a bunch of whitecoats playing around in basements with stuff I don't want to think about... and that should stop. never will tho...
 
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