Skip to comments.Thailand: Specialists on full alert following outbreak of bacterial which could be use as weapon
Posted on 03/20/2006 7:48:19 PM PST by JimSEA
A serious disease outbreak in the northern province of Nan had Army weapons specialists and US disease investigators on full alert Monday.
Almost 150 people in the province have been stricken with botulism, a rare yet lethal bacterial disease that could potentially be used as a biological weapon.
Health authorities have sought international assistance treating the patients.
US military biological weapons experts have been flown into Nan, as have World Health Organisation disease specialists, said Thai Disease Control Department chief Thawat Suntharacharn.
Since March 4, 143 villagers in Nan's Ban Luang district have been diagnosed as suffering from botulism, a disease caused by toxins produced by several members of a group of bacteria known as Clostridium botulinum.
All of the patients reported having eaten dishes containing preserved bamboo shoots from the same batch at a merit-making feast in their village last week. Shortly after eating the shoots they began to suffer similar symptoms, including vomiting, diarrhoea, difficulty swallowing, dry mouths and muscle weakness, Nan chief health officer Dr Pisit Sriprasert said on Sunday. Of the 147, 33 are currently breathing with the aid of respirators, he said.
"This bacterium is among three strains that can be used as a biological warfare agent - the others are anthrax and smallpox," said Thawat.
Fears of a biological attack arose because of the number of people falling ill at one time.
Almost 170 villagers from Ban Luang district were admitted to the provincial hospital last week after eating tinned bamboo shoots and developing botulism, a form of food poisoning caused by the clostridium botulinum bacteria.
A team of medics investigating the disease outbreak suspected that the villagers' unhygienic production of tinned bamboo shoots was the cause of the food poisoning.
Our friends there say that the leftists are already spouting the mantra -- "It was a US military test" As depressing as it is predictable.
This does not bear the marks of an intentional attack using botulinum toxin. It does bear all the marks of a standard case of food poisoning due to improperly food handling or canning.
I find it hard to believe that U.S. officials would take this seriously, unless it was just to placate locals.
sounds like someone was doing a trial run.
It wouldn't be bad as an assassination weapon under controlled circumstances, though. But I don't think this was that. Could be wrong, of course.
it's funny how i start seeing all these kinds of stories coming from Thailand just before my trip there this weekend.
Where are you going?
It is claimed that one pint of pure botulin toxin would be sufficient to kill the entire population of the world.
As a weapon its drawback is the difficulty of getting 5B people to all line up for their injections.
staying with my girlfriend and her family up near Phetchabun.
looks like i'll be removing bamboo from my menu
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