Results 1 to 7 of 7

Thread: Zombie Diseases

  1. Top | #1
    Administrator lpetrich's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Location
    Lebanon, OR
    Posts
    6,715
    Archived
    16,829
    Total Posts
    23,544
    Rep Power
    79

    Zombie Diseases

    8- 27-2019 Instagram Ocasio2018 Ocasio-Cortez Live Video QA - YouTube - fact checking AOC's assertions can be fun, because one can dig up interesting things. Like this:

    BBC - Earth - There are diseases hidden in ice, and they are waking up
    In August 2016, in a remote corner of Siberian tundra called the Yamal Peninsula in the Arctic Circle, a 12-year-old boy died and at least twenty people were hospitalised after being infected by anthrax.

    The theory is that, over 75 years ago, a reindeer infected with anthrax died and its frozen carcass became trapped under a layer of frozen soil, known as permafrost. There it stayed until a heatwave in the summer of 2016, when the permafrost thawed.

    This exposed the reindeer corpse and released infectious anthrax into nearby water and soil, and then into the food supply. More than 2,000 reindeer grazing nearby became infected, which then led to the small number of human cases.

    The fear is that this will not be an isolated case.
    Like smallpox from the corpses of some of its victims. That deadly disease is now entirely gone from humanity, and the only known samples of it are in labs in various places. I've seen mention of whether it would be ethical to destroy the remaining ones, because that would be deliberately causing the extinction of a species.

    The Arctic tundra does not have many inhabitants, but some of them are transitory: miners and drillers and pipeline maintenance workers and the like. So if one of them catches some disease from a revealed corpse, then s/he can transmit it to a lot of other people when s/he moves home.

    Many disease organisms are rather fragile, like the smallpox virus, but some of them can make very tough spores, like Bacillus anthracis, which causes anthrax, and Clostridium botulinum, which causes botulism. Resistance of Bacillus Endospores to Extreme Terrestrial and Extraterrestrial Environments - these spores can survive dryness, vacuum, and otherwise-deadly amounts of ultraviolet light and ionizing radiation.

  2. Top | #2
    Member Peez's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2001
    Location
    Quebec, Canada
    Posts
    395
    Archived
    5,504
    Total Posts
    5,899
    Rep Power
    69

  3. Top | #3
    Administrator lpetrich's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Location
    Lebanon, OR
    Posts
    6,715
    Archived
    16,829
    Total Posts
    23,544
    Rep Power
    79
    I've thought of a version of this nightmare scenario.

    In Switzerland some centuries ago, a certain Hans lived. When he was a young man, his village suffered a smallpox epidemic, and though he survived it, he was left with its characteristic pockmarks.

    He often went hunting, and one day, he tried to take a shortcut across a glacier. He was rather tired, and as he made his way across it, he slipped and fell. He never got up; he died there and got buried by later winters' snowfalls.

    Fast forward to the present, when his body started getting exposed by that glacier melting. Two hikers, Willy and Karl, see it, and walk toward it. Willy is curious, and he pushes aside some of the glacier snow. He sees the man's face and says "Look at this, Karl. He had the most incredible case of acne." He removes a glove and feels some of it.

    The two then cover up the body with snow and return home. They tell the local authorities about a body in the glacier snow, and the next day, they return with a rescue team to find the body and move it to a local morgue.

    Nearly two weeks after the find, Willy catches the flu. Or what seems like the flu. A few days later, he notices red spots on his tongue, and then a rash on his skin. Karl wants him to see a doctor about it, but Willy doesn't think it bad enough. Then Willy starts getting lots of bumps on his skin. Off to a doctor for sure.

    At a local hospital, the doctors were very perplexed. Cowpox? But Willy wasn't near any cows recently. So they took a sample of one of the skin bumps and sent it to a university's genetics department. The geneticists tried to isolate possible infectious agents, and they sequenced some genes of what looked like some virus. When they compared the gene sequences to the sequences in a big database of virus genes, they were gobsmacked.

    Smallpox!

    They sent a message back saying that they should watch Willy VERY closely and that they should track down everybody who has come into contact with him over the last two weeks. Has anyone gotten flu-like symptoms or strange spots or skin bumps?

    Willy got put into an isolation ward, and his vital signs went way down. But the hospital staff was very good at palliative care, and he recovered.

    The hospital staff sent some skin-bump samples to some major genetics and virology laboratories, and they agreed with the original geneticists that it was indeed smallpox. The next thing was to test Hans. He also had the virus - with a gene sequence identical to Willy's.

    Smallpox had come back.

    The next step was to keep it from getting very far. So some genetics lab created a vaccine from smallpox protein-virus coat, created by putting a gene for it into a bacterium. This was guaranteed safe, since it contained no smallpox-virus genes. All the hospital staff received this vaccine, as did Karl, even if many other people were unwilling to receive it.

  4. Top | #4
    Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    172
    Archived
    241
    Total Posts
    413
    Rep Power
    39
    Quote Originally Posted by lpetrich View Post
    I've thought of a version of this nightmare scenario.

    In Switzerland some centuries ago, a certain Hans lived. When he was a young man, his village suffered a smallpox epidemic, and though he survived it, he was left with its characteristic pockmarks.

    He often went hunting, and one day, he tried to take a shortcut across a glacier. He was rather tired, and as he made his way across it, he slipped and fell. He never got up; he died there and got buried by later winters' snowfalls.

    Fast forward to the present, when his body started getting exposed by that glacier melting. Two hikers, Willy and Karl, see it, and walk toward it. Willy is curious, and he pushes aside some of the glacier snow. He sees the man's face and says "Look at this, Karl. He had the most incredible case of acne." He removes a glove and feels some of it.

    The two then cover up the body with snow and return home. They tell the local authorities about a body in the glacier snow, and the next day, they return with a rescue team to find the body and move it to a local morgue.

    Nearly two weeks after the find, Willy catches the flu. Or what seems like the flu. A few days later, he notices red spots on his tongue, and then a rash on his skin. Karl wants him to see a doctor about it, but Willy doesn't think it bad enough. Then Willy starts getting lots of bumps on his skin. Off to a doctor for sure.

    At a local hospital, the doctors were very perplexed. Cowpox? But Willy wasn't near any cows recently. So they took a sample of one of the skin bumps and sent it to a university's genetics department. The geneticists tried to isolate possible infectious agents, and they sequenced some genes of what looked like some virus. When they compared the gene sequences to the sequences in a big database of virus genes, they were gobsmacked.

    Smallpox!

    They sent a message back saying that they should watch Willy VERY closely and that they should track down everybody who has come into contact with him over the last two weeks. Has anyone gotten flu-like symptoms or strange spots or skin bumps?

    Willy got put into an isolation ward, and his vital signs went way down. But the hospital staff was very good at palliative care, and he recovered.

    The hospital staff sent some skin-bump samples to some major genetics and virology laboratories, and they agreed with the original geneticists that it was indeed smallpox. The next thing was to test Hans. He also had the virus - with a gene sequence identical to Willy's.

    Smallpox had come back.

    The next step was to keep it from getting very far. So some genetics lab created a vaccine from smallpox protein-virus coat, created by putting a gene for it into a bacterium. This was guaranteed safe, since it contained no smallpox-virus genes. All the hospital staff received this vaccine, as did Karl, even if many other people were unwilling to receive it.
    A minor variation. They do not find the body, but the discarded blanket of a person who had smallpox. Since it was in good condition they took it home. Anyone who used the blanket is at risk of getting smallpox.

    In 1788 a fleet of ships came to Australia. 10 months later they were starving. An organised attack by the local wildlife (ie the first Nation people) could have wiped them out and they knew it. They were extremely "lucky" that an outbreak of smallpox devastated these people. These people were the first people ever to get infected in Australia. No cases of smallpox happened on the way out to Australia. So what I have written could happen.

  5. Top | #5
    Super Moderator
    Join Date
    Sep 2000
    Location
    Nevada
    Posts
    25,155
    Archived
    96,752
    Total Posts
    121,907
    Rep Power
    97
    Yeah, they should make a smallpox vaccine that can be stored for a long time cryogenically so they have a bunch ready to go if it shows up from somewhere.

  6. Top | #6
    Contributor DBT's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    ɹǝpunuʍop puɐן
    Posts
    9,053
    Archived
    17,906
    Total Posts
    26,959
    Rep Power
    71
    Apparently there is some degree of plague panic starting in China:


    ''It’s not the disease that’s worrisome—it’s the Chinese government’s response to it.''

    ''The Chinese government’s response to this month’s outbreak of plague has been marked by temerity and some fear, which history suggests is entirely appropriate. But not all fear is the same, and Beijing seems to be afraid of the wrong things. Rather than being concerned about the germs and their spread, the government seems mostly motivated by a desire to manage public reaction about the disease. Those efforts, however, have failed—and the public’s response is now veering toward a sort of plague-inspired panic that’s not at all justified by the facts.''

  7. Top | #7
    Super Moderator
    Join Date
    Sep 2000
    Location
    Nevada
    Posts
    25,155
    Archived
    96,752
    Total Posts
    121,907
    Rep Power
    97
    Quote Originally Posted by DBT View Post
    Apparently there is some degree of plague panic starting in China:


    ''It’s not the disease that’s worrisome—it’s the Chinese government’s response to it.''

    ''The Chinese government’s response to this month’s outbreak of plague has been marked by temerity and some fear, which history suggests is entirely appropriate. But not all fear is the same, and Beijing seems to be afraid of the wrong things. Rather than being concerned about the germs and their spread, the government seems mostly motivated by a desire to manage public reaction about the disease. Those efforts, however, have failed—and the public’s response is now veering toward a sort of plague-inspired panic that’s not at all justified by the facts.''
    Yup, and from what we saw from SARS it's probably a lot more than one case. One could be hushed up.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •