The Ecosystem Fights Back...
Part Two

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The First Nations/First Peoples are firmly bound to the Earth and accordingly are well aware of the ecological state of affairs. And so, I wonder...AIDS, Hantavirus, Filovirus...could these be some sort of sign, a tremor, a ripple from deep within Mother Earth?

As per the Spiritual Elders, Hotevilla, Hopi Nation: We are now living in the fourth and final world of the Hopi. We are at a most critical time in human history. It is a crossroads at which the outcome of our actions will decide the fate of life on earth.

As per New Yorker Magazine...Method and Madness - The Next Plague, and the Next, article by Nicholas Wade:

"In the remotest tropics of Africa and South America lurk a coterie of viruses that infect animals or insects and seldom bother man. But people occasionally stray into their path, with results usually horrifying enough to mark the annals of medicine.

"Most of these viruses cause hemorraghic fever. They make the internal organs bleed and rot. Many patients die, oozing virus-laden blood contagious to those who tend them. Last month [as discussed] one of these exotic organisms, known as the Sabia virus, escaped from a high-security laboratory at Yale University. For 12 days it roamed the streets of New Haven and even visited Boston. As luck would have it, the virus failed to spread beyond its newly acquired host, a researcher it infected when a centrifuge tube broke [and splattered the virus borne medium into his eyes and nose]. Neither did it manage to attack any of the 80 people in contact with him and involved with his care.

"The researcher was treated with an antiviral drug and pulled through. But the incident raised disquieting questions. How could such an extremely hazardous organism be allowed to escape? And why is man still at such mortal peril from microbes when medical skills have reached unparalleled heights?

"The answer to the first question is easy: no amount of safety equipment can overwhelm the human capacity for error [or the tendency of Murphy's Law to prevail]. When the centrifuge tube shattered, the Yale researcher washed down the area with disinfectant and thought no more of it. He didn't report the incident, as required, and when he developed a fever several days later he at first ascribed it to malaria. In the end no harm was done, but the virus eluded all the sophisticated barriers, filters and procedures that were meant to insure it could be studied safety.

"The barriers that protect human populations from assault by new infectious agents are probably just as frail and fallible. Despite the steady pace of medical progress, Pandora's box is far from empty. As the webs of trade and travel expand and life styles change, the industrial world's inhabitants are being exposed to novel pathogens to which they have no legacy or immunity.

"In the last two decades Americans have been hit by a wave of new or at least newly recognized microbial assailants. There's Lyme disease and Legionnaires disease, toxic shock syndrome and Hantavirus. There's a chilling variation of the common gut bacterium E. coli, known as 0157:H7, that has acquired the ability to hemorrhage the bowel and kidney and kill its weaker victims. And, of course, there is AIDS. Because so little progress is being reported, the 10th International Conference on AIDS, held in Yokohama, Japan, last month, was the last to convene annually; scientists will now meet every two years.

"Apart from new invaders, established microbes are developing resistance to standard remedies faster than new drugs can be developed. The organism of gonorrhea has learned to outwit penicillin, Staphylococcus to defy methicillin and malaria to evade chloroquine. If there is anyone doctors and nurses trembled to treat, it's not AIDS patients but those infected with multiple drug-resistant strains of tuberculosis. The bacillus is spread through the breath, though not easily. Seven of the 10 victims may die. A long-vanquished disease has returned with vigor.

"Drug-resistant organisms, though alarming, are at least known quantities. The strange new diseases erupting on American soil are thought to be mostly ancient organisms that lacked the opportunity to attack until people blundered into their habitat. The AIDS viruses have been confined for millennia to African monkeys or isolated human groups until civilization's encroachment on the forest let them expand their range. Various events then combined to launch AIDS as a global plague. Two particularly susceptible groups, a number of highly promiscuous gay men and abusers of intravenous drugs, were portals for its entry into the United States.

"That pattern - disruption of a virus's native ecology and a receptive host here - is a recipe for new plagues. The Sabia virus, which got loose in New Haven, and its grim cousins the Marburg...

[No one can explain how this virus is transmitted - it's too dangerous to investigate. Researchers in Marburg, Germany, died from the disease after working with African Green monkeys, but the source is still unknown. The symptoms begin with a sore throat, high fever, headache, diarrhea, chest pains, and skin rash. Small white blisters cover the body, and a brain hemorrhage can send its victims into a psychotic rage before they eventually die]

Ebola...

[In 1976 doctors tried to explain why hundreds of people became "ghostlike" and resembled "zombies" before dying of the Ebola virus in Zaire. Victims complain of headache and fever before hemorrhaging starts throughout the body. Reports of blood spurting out all orifices - eyes, mouth, anus, tears in the skin - sent U.S. researchers scrambling to know more about this virus.]

and Lassa [the]

[The virus enters the body through openings in the skin and causes headache and chills while it inflames your eyes to a bright red. Lassa goes for the organs and causes violent vomiting, coma, and eventually death. Five thousand people in western Africa died of it in 1989, and in Nigeria people are so afraid of this highly contagious virus that those who have the symptoms are not admitted into hospitals.]

fever viruses, are ax murderers among microbes, but too vicious for their own good; they kill their victims too quickly for efficient spread and have as yet acquired no animal host in the United States.

"Far more alarming is Hantavirus, which has taken up permanent residence in the United States by infecting rodents. People are infected when they breath in virus particles that are shed in rat droppings and blown into the air. Hantavirus signaled its presence in this country with a violent outbreak among the Navajo [Dine] and others. Of 88 people known to have been infected, more than half have died. [This virus gets its name from the Hantaan River in Korea, where hundreds of American soldiers were killed by the virus after contracting it from mice in nearby rice fields. The virus, present in a mouses's urine and droppings, can be inhaled when the excretions are dry. Initial symptoms can be confused with the flu (high fever, chills, aches), but then the virus attacks the kidneys and causes internal bleeding. Last year a new strain of hantaan, which targets the lungs, afflicted the Dine...some of them healthy in the morning but dead by sunset].

"As the world shrinks to a village, a great biological melange has been set in motion. In an experiment fraught with peril, the dangerous microbes of long-isolated ecologies are being stirred into the main pool. The Indians of North and South America were utterly unprepared for the diseases unleashed on them by the Europeans. Now it's modern Americans' turn to confront novel pathogens, rashly disturbed from their ancient recesses in tropical forests.

"Little wonder some public health experts are wringing their hands. Infectious disease specialists 'have for years warned of the potential for serious epidemics and our lack of preparedness for them,' a National Academy of Sciences committee wrote in 1992. 'In what can only be called a general mood of complacency, these warnings have gone largely unheeded.' And 'AIDS may well be just the first of the modern, largescale epidemics of infectious diseases,' warns Jonathan Mann of the Harvard School of Public Health, in a forward to 'The Coming Plague,' by Laurie Garrett, due out next month [10.94].

"Americans are well prepared to fend off new plagues because they enjoy good health, clean water and advanced medicine. And public health experts have been wrong in the past, notably in their near unanimous support for the swine flu vaccination campaign of 1976 against a pandemic that never panned out. Still, it would take a lot of optimism to assume the wave of new diseases is spent."



Ecosystem Fights Back...Part One

Part Three

Dark Response...or Evolution?

Ebola...The Slate Wiper

First Nations Cumulative Index