Will Ebola Be America’s Next Horror?
By James Donahue
A disturbing outbreak of an Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease in white-tailed deer across Southern Michigan
has impacted the 2012 deer hunting season in the state. Most hunters are traveling into Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to
stalk their buck rather than take a chance on infected meat.
The Department of Natural Resources has blamed the summer drought and record heat as a major contributor
to the spread of a biting fly that is believed to be transmitting the virus. The infection causes internal bleeding, high
fever, loss of appetite and death.
The infection, which was first detected among the deer in 2011, has wiped out thousands of whitetails
in Michigan. Hunters and farmers complain of smelling the rotting carcasses of the dead deer everywhere.
While wildlife and game officials are saying the virus is not a threat to humans, we suspect they
are keeping a leery eye on the epidemic. That is because a new strain of the Ebola virus, which causes a fatal hemorrhagic
fever in both humans and primates, has been discovered that appears to spread through the air.
It used to be believed that Ebola was only passed by direct contact with blood or body fluids from
one subject to the next. But a study published November 15 in Scientific Reports noted that piglets infected with Ebola passed
the virus to macaques housed in the same room, even though the animals never had contact with one another.
The Ebola virus strains have mostly been known in certain areas of Africa where entire villages have
been struck by deadly epidemics that cause victims to literally bleed to death. Scientists have long believed the virus, believed
to be carried by monkeys, would not spread world-wide because of the speed with which it kills its host.
Recently, however, some Ebola viruses related to the African strains have shown up in orangutans in
Indonesia. This has alarmed researchers who now see a possibility of other Ebola-like viruses spreading to pigs and from there
Ebola is clearly a form of hemorrhagic fever. Thus the question rises; is the disease that is spreading
among the Michigan deer herds also a form of Ebola? If it is carried by biting flies, is there a chance that the virus will
mutate to a form that will infect humans?
Why would a form of hemorrhagic fever start breaking out in the Michigan deer herds in 2011 and then
intensify in 2012? Where did this virus originate? There is a theory among conspiracy buffs that this and other experimental
diseases may have escaped from the controversial Animal Disease Center on Plum Island, off the tip of Long Island, New York,
during Hurricanes Irene in 2011 and Sandy in 2012.
The center, operated by the Department of Agriculture, has reportedly been a experimental center where
researchers test methods of controlling infectious diseases among farm animals. The research there included some ugly strains
of things like hoof and mouth disease, African swine fever, vesicular stomatitis and cattle plague. Would Ebola among pigs
have been included? Since the Plum Island lab has been operating under extreme secrecy, no one knows what bugs were infecting
the various animals housed there.
Even worse, no one knows for sure if the laboratory buildings were damaged in the two hurricanes,
and if so, did any unwanted diseases get carried in the winds over the mainland?
This is not an original concern. Writer Michael Carroll in his book: Lab 257: The Disturbing Story
of the Government’s Secret Plum Island German Laboratory, suggested that the Lyme disease infection now spread by ticks
was accidentally released from the lab, which has been operating for some 60 years. Carroll also blames the lab as being the
possible source of West Nile virus and the Dutch duck plague.
Another writer, Kenneth King, in his book Germs Gone Wild, also has expounded on Carroll’s concerns.
Government officials deny that nefarious activities were going on at Plum Island, but we know from
experience that denial and reality may be two different things. If experimental new strains of Ebola were accidentally released
from that lab during the storms, what other horrors were spread over the landscape?