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Bleeding To Death

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 to humans.

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?