Thursday, April 20, 2006

Bio-war test in Iowa?

Biological warfare testing? (see also here):

“U.S. government health officials said Wednesday that an outbreak of mumps has hit states in the U.S. Midwest and shows no signs of ending. More than 1,100 cases of the contagious disease have occurred during the past four months.”

and (my emphasis in red):

“Dr. Gerberding said the U.S. outbreak may be connected to an outbreak of more than 100,000 cases in the United Kingdom during the past two years. ‘We do know that the genotype, at least in the early cases of this outbreak, was the same genotype of virus that was associated with the United Kingdom outbreak. But that doesn't necessarily mean there was a direct link to introduction. (It is) certainly possible, but we don't have any proof of that at this point in time,’ she said.”

The good folks in Iowa are blaming it on that new-fangled Blue State invention called ‘air-o-planes’.

‘A2’ writes Cryptome about the mysterious strain (my emphasis in red)::

“I was looking up the mumps genome this weekend. Mumps is pretty well-characterized.  The seven genes that completely make up its genome have been sequences since 2001. The strains compared to date have been nearly identical. So this new entry as of this 23rd February is (to me) startling:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?db=gene&cmd=Retrieve&dopt=full_report&list_uids=2828643

Here are all the mumps gene entries:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/Taxonomy/Browser/wwwtax.cgi?id=11161

Mumps is highly contagious, but not too dangerous, and might be the perfect biowarfare test agent.  Did some UK biolab come up with a new strain which is being spread around the UK and, now, the American Midwest?  Iowa seems to be ground zero (see also here):

“The state of Iowa has established the Iowa Laboratory Alert Network (ILRN), as part of a national bioterrorism preparedness and response network of public health and clinical laboratories for the purpose of disease surveillance and emergency response to possible acts of bioterrorism. If one of the participating state laboratories suspects it has discovered a biological agent, they are advised to contact the UI Hygienic Laboratory, which serves as a reference laboratory for the state.”

The University of Iowa Hygienic Laboratory was set up over one hundred years ago to study communicable diseases, and also now has expertise in bioterrorism.  It is actively engaged in studying the mumps case.

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