Wise Up Journal
21st century black plague that spreads from rats to humans
A new plague which jumps from rats to humans has been discovered by scientists.
Fears are growing that increasing numbers of brown rats – the most common kind in Europe – are carrying a strain of bacteria that can cause serious illness in humans from heart disease to infection of the spleen and nervous system.
The new strain of bacteria called Bartonella rochalimae is spread between rats by fleas, Taiwanese researchers have said.
A brown rat, common in the UK, has been found carrying a new strain of bacteria called Bartonella rochalimae, which is deadly to humans
It was first discovered in an American woman with an enlarged spleen who had recently travelled to Peru.
‘This event raised concern that it could be a newly emerged zoonotic [animal to human] pathogen,’ said Professor Chao-Chin Chang from the National Chung Hsing University in Taiwan.
‘Therefore, we decided to investigate further to understand if rodents living close to human environment could carry this bacteria.’
Scientists have found that rodents carry several pathogenic species of Bartonella, such as B. elizabethae, which can cause inflammation of the heart and B. grahamii, which causes inflammation of the retina and optic nerve of the eye.
‘By analysing the DNA of the bacteria, we discovered a strain that is most closely related to B. rochalimae, which has been isolated recently from a human infection in the United States,’ said Professor Chang.
Researchers took samples from 58 rats and mice.
Six of the rodents were found to be carrying Bartonella bacteria; five of these were brown rats.
Four of the rodents were carrying B. elizabethae, which can cause heart disease in humans, and one of the black rats was found to be harbouring B. tribocorum.
However, scientists noticed one strain that had not been identified in rodents previously. The strain was finally shown to be Bartonella rochalimae.
Professor Change said the results raised concerns about the existence of a 21st century plague.
‘This certainly warrants further investigation,’ he said.
The Black Death was one of the deadliest pandemics in human history, widely thought to have been caused by a bacterium named Yersinia pestis, or Bubonic plague.
It was spread by rodents in the 14th century and centuries after that, killing an estimated 75 million people worldwide.
But some, who think differently, are not worried
The First Post
by Brendan O’Neill
In the middle of all the hoo-hah over Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand’s childish phone calls on a late-night radio show, you may have missed a far more scandalous utterance that was made on BBC radio.
On 5 November, the upmarket Nightwaves on BBC Radio 3 aired a discussion about overpopulation between Dr Susan Blackmore (a neuroscientist) and Professor John Gray (of the London School of Economics).
Dr Blackmore said the “fundamental problem” facing the planet today is that “there are too many people”. Professor Gray agreed. Then Dr Blackmore declared: “For the planet’s sake, I hope we have bird flu or some other thing that will reduce the population, because otherwise we’re doomed.”
So, it’s official: at the Beeb it is unacceptable to make crude jokes about having sex with someone’s granddaughter, but it is perfectly OK to wish death upon large swathes of mankind.
Make a rude call to Andrew Sachs’ answerphone and you will be accused of dragging the BBC’s good name through the dirt.
At the Beeb it is perfectly OK to wish death upon large swathes of mankind
The disparity between the public reaction to Brandgate (wild) and the public reaction to what I think we should call ‘Birdflugate’ (non-existent) reveals a great deal about the warped morality of the cultural elite.
Malthusianism, the one-eyed belief that all of the Earth’s problems are caused by over-breeding, is making a comeback in polite circles.
Following the discrediting of eugenics during the Second World War, Malthusians had been rather shamefaced about their beliefs. They continually invented new PC terms with which they might dress up their angst about “too many people”.
In Africa in particular, measures to tackle overpopulation were promoted in the deceitful language of “choice” and “autonomy”
by charities keen to avoid being accused of pursuing that far uglier-sounding goal: population control.
More recently, however, Malthusians have become more strident. The poisonous notion that the speedily breeding masses are pushing the planet to breaking point has become a casual dinner-party prejudice.
Earlier this year Prince Phillip gave a TV interview in which he offered a pat explanation for the food price crisis: “Too many people.” On the other side of the political spectrum, a republican columnist for the Independent fretted about the “swelling billions” (that’s people in the Third World ) who are pushing our planet to extinction.
Professor Gray has referred to humanity as a “plague”. The novelist Lionel Shriver recognises that this is a “racially, religiously and ethnically sticky” issue but says “the threat of overpopulation is back and here to stay”.
Dr Blackmore was taking these increasingly common prejudices to their logical conclusion when she wished that bird flu would come and kill some of us off (the “swelling billions”, preferably, rather than Radio 3 aficionados).
She follows in the tradition of Earth First!, the eco-group which in the early 1990s said that “just as the Plague contributed to the demise of feudalism,”.
More recently, the Optimum Population Trust, which counts Prince Charles’s eco-adviser Jonathon Porritt among its directors, said that if we don’t find a way to reduce human numbers then “it will be one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse that bumps us off”.
The neo-Malthusians are as wrong as every population alarmist in history has ever been. Like Thomas Malthus (1766-1834) and his followers, […] treating population growth as the only variant, and everything else – food production, progress, human ingenuity – as fixed entities.
“I suspect that eradicating small pox was wrong.
It played an important part in balancing ecosystems.”
– John Davis, editor of Earth First! Journal
“A reasonable estimate for an industrialized world society
at the present North American material standard of living
would be 1 billion. At the more frugal European standard
of living, 2 to 3 billion would be possible.”
– United Nations,
Global Biodiversity Assessment
“If I were reincarnated I would wish to be returned to earth
as a killer virus to lower human population levels.”
– Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh,
patron of the World Wildlife Fund
“Rats on the rampage: Vermin boom blamed on cuts in refuse collections
“Britain’s rat population is soaring to record levels. In the worst-hit cities, such as York, the number of reported infestations has more than doubledin the last 12 months. Exeter City Council reported a 66 per cent rise in vermin call-outs last year, Salford a 40 per cent rise and Carlisle a 142 per cent increase. Some experts say the introduction of alternate weekly collections, where food is allowed to rot in bins for up to two weeks before being taken away, has added to the crisis. Most councils use rat-proof wheelie bins with lids to stop vermin reaching food waste. However, the axing of weekly collections has led to hundreds of thousands of homes composting food scraps for the first time.”
“Childbearing should be a punishable crime against
society, unless the parents hold a government license.
All potential parents should be required to use
contraceptive chemicals, the government issuing
antidotes to citizens chosen for childbearing.”
– David Brower,
first Executive Director of the Sierra Club
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reported, “the average sperm count of a North American college student today is less than half of what it was 50 years ago. The quality of sperm is declining. Eighty-five per cent of the sperm produced by a healthy male is DNA-damaged. The chemical industry has developed more than 90,000 man-made chemicals in the last sixty years.” – 2008
Ted Turner, founder of CNN and major UN donor: “A total population of 250-300 million people, a 95% decline from present levels, would be ideal.”
The Guardian: “A group of farmers is suing the government and two laboratories for negligence over last year’s outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease. The £1.5m claim was brought by 14 livestock farmers against the Institute for Animal Health (IAH) and Merial Animal Health Limited, as operators of the Pirbright facility, and the Defra secretary, Hilary Benn, as licensor and regulator of the facility. The IAH and Merial were at the centre of the outbreak in Normandy, Surrey, in August last year. An investigation found biosecurity breaches at the Pirbright research centre.”
Pirbright Laboratory: “The focus of attention of the 173 employees, plus research students and visiting scientists is on exotic viruses, ones that do not normally affect the UK. As well as doing research, IAH Pirbright scientists form nine Reference Laboratories on behalf of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).” International Reference Laboratory: “In addition to fundamental and strategic research, the Institute for Animal Health’s Pirbright Laboratory provides a vital service in real time at times of outbreaks of disease, both nationally and internationally.”