Skip to comments.Sen. Leahy: West Nile Outbreak Could Be Terrorism
Posted on 09/12/2002 5:56:05 PM PDT by honway
Sen. Leahy: West Nile Outbreak Could Be Terrorism
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Pat Leahy, D-Vt., said Thursday that he suspects the recent outbreak of West Nile virus that has killed more than 30 Americans across the nation this summer is the work of terrorists.
"I think we have to ask ourselves, is it a coincidence that we're seeing such an increase in West Nile virus. Or is that something that is being tested as a biological weapon by the terrorists?" Leahy said in an interview with WKDR (Burlington, Vt.) radio host Mark Johnson.
"There are some people who, credibly, feel [the West Nile outbreak] is a test of our defenses and is a biological weapon."
Just as host Johnson attempted to grill the Vermont Democrat on his West Nile theory, the interview was interrupted by coverage of President Bush's address to the United Nations.
"I've never heard anybody mention West Nile virus as being a possible terrorist attack. What makes you say that?" the Vermont radio talker asked.
"It may be coincidence, the sudden increase [of West Nile cases]. Some of the same people who have ...," Leahy began to explain, just as WKDR broke in for coverage of the Bush speech.
Leahy unveiled his concerns about West Nile terrorism while recounting the anthrax attacks of last fall, when his Senate office was targeted by a weapons-grade sample of the deadly bioweapon.
A. West Nile virus is a flavivirus commonly found in Africa, West Asia, and the Middle East. It is closely related to St. Louis encephalitis virus found in the United States. The virus can infect humans, birds, mosquitoes, horses and some other mammals.
Most WNV infected humans have no symptoms. A small proportion develops mild symptoms that include fever, headache, body aches, skin rash and swollen lymph glands. Less than 1% of infected people develop more severe illness that includes meningitis (inflammation of the spinal cord) or encephalitis. The symptoms of these illnesses can include headache, high fever, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, and paralysis. Of the few people that develop encephalitis, a small proportion die but, overall, this is estimated to occur in less than 1 out of 1000 infections.
Old Diseases Defined
This is a list of old diseases and their definitions
that may be helpful to you in your research.
|Acute Mania||Severe insanity|
|Marked by weakness, loss of weight, low blood pressure, gastrointestinal disturbances and brownish pigmentation of the skin.|
||Recurring fever & chills of malarial infection. Also known as "Chill fever", "the Shakes".|
|American Plague||Yellow fever|
|Apoplexy||Paralysis due to stroke|
|Atrophy||Wasting away or diminishing in size|
||A term applied to certain intestinal and malarial fevers. (Typhoid, malaria, hepatitis for elevated temperature)|
|Biliousnes||Jaundice or other symptoms of liver disease|
||Acute infection with high temperature and dark red skin lesions and high mortailty rate.|
|Blak plague||Bubonic plague|
|Black pox||Black Small pox|
|Blood Poisoning||Bacterial infection; Septicemia|
|Bloody flux||Bloody stools|
|Bloody sweat||Sweating sickness|
|Brain fever||Meningitis or typhus|
|Bright's disease||kidney disease|
|Cancer||A malignant and invasive growth or tumor.|
|Carditis||Inflammation of the heart wall|
|Cerebritis||Inflammation of cerebrum or lead poisoning|
|Child bed fever||Infection following birth of a child|
|Chin cough||Whooping cough|
|Cholera||Acute sever contagious diarrhea with intestinal lining sloughing.|
||Paroxysmal pain in the abdomen or bowels. Can occur from disease in the kidney.|
||An excessive accumulation of blood or other fluid in a body part or blood vessel. In congestive fever the internal organs become gorged with blood.|
||Severe contortion of the body cause by violent, involuntary muscular contractions of the extremities, trunk and head.|
|Congestive chills||Malaria with diarrhea|
|Crop sickness||Overextended stomach|
||Spasmodic laryngitis, marked by episodes of difficult breathing and hoarse metallic cough.|
|Cyanosis||Dark skin color from lack of oxygen in blood.|
|Cystitis||Inflammation of the bladder|
|Day fever||fever lasting one day|
||Mental breakdown, depression, Alzheimers, Parkinsons or the after effects of a stroke.|
||Swelling with the presence of abnormally large amounts of fluid, often caused by kidney or heart disease.|
|Dropsy of the brain||Encephalitis|
|Dry bellyache||Lead poisoning|
|Dysentery||Inflammation of the colon.|
|Eclampsia||A form of toxins in the blood accompanying pregnancy.|
|Edema||Swelling of tissues|
|Edema of lungs||Congestive heart failure, a form of dropsy|
|Emphysema||A chronic irreversible disease of the lungs|
|Encephalitis||Swelling of brain; "sleeping sickness"|
|Epilepsy||A disorder of the nervous system|
|Fatty Liver||Cirrhosis of liver|
|Fits||Sudden attack or seizures|
|French Pox||Venereal disease. Syphilis|
|Gangrene||Death or decay of tissue in a part of the body---usually a limb.|
||Any inflammation caused by the formation of crystals of oxalic acid accumulating in the body.|
|Heart Sickness||Caused by loss of salt from the body.|
||Body temperature rises and body does not perspire to reduce temperature.|
||A skin eruption of smooth, slightly elevated areas on the skin which is redder or paler than the surrounding skin. A common cause of death of children three years and under.|
|Hydrocephalus||Enlarged head, water on the brain. Dropsy.|
|Impetigo||Contagious skin disease characterized by pustules|
||Redness, swelling, pain, tenderness, heat and disturbed function of an area of the body.|
|Intestinal colic||Abdominal pain due to improper diet.|
||Yellow discoloration of the skin, whites of the eyes and mucous membranes, due to an increase of bile pigments in the blood.|
||Tetanus, a disease in which the jaws become firmly locked together. Untreated, it is fatal in 8 days.|
||Inflammation of the meninges characterized by high fever, severe headache, and stiff neck or back muscles. Known as "brain fever".|
|Milk Fever||Disease from drinking contaminated milk.|
||A painful swelling of the leg beginning at the ankle and ascending, or at the groin and extending down the thigh. It is usual cause is infection after labor.|
||Poising resulting from the drinking of milk produced by a cow who had eaten a plant known as white snake root.|
|Palsy||Paralysis or uncontrolled movement of controlled muscles.|
|Pericariditis||Inflammation of the heart.|
|Phthisis||Consumption.---Chronic wasting away.|
|Pleurisy||Inflammation of the pleura, the lining of the chest cavity.|
|Pneumonia||Inflammation of the lungs|
|Rheumatism||Any disorder associated with pain in the joints|
|Rickets||Disease of skeletal system.|
|Scarlet fever||Disease characterized by red rash.|
|Scurvy||Lack of Vitamin C.|
|Small pox||Contagious disease with fever and blisters.|
||Often reported as a cause of death in infants. Symptoms were restlessness, convulsions, diarrhea and painful and swollen gums.|
||An infectious, often-fatal disease caused by a specific bacterium that enters the body through wounds.|
|Thrombosis||Blood clot inside a blood vessel.|
||A disease characterized by whitish spots and ulcers on the membranes of the mouth and tongue cause by a parasitic fungus.|
|Toxemia of pregnancy||Eclampsia|
||An infectious, often-fatal disease, usually occurring in the summer months--characterized by intestinal inflammation and ulceration.|
|Water on brain||Enlarged head|
|White swelling||Tuberculosis of the bone|
|Womb fever||Infection of the uterus.|
||Convulsions associated with teething, worms, elevated temperature or diarrhea.|
|Yellow jacket||Yellow fever|
Leishmaniasis is one of several names for various tropical diseases, which are caused by flagellates of the genus Leishmania. The parasites are transmitted by sandflies, blood-sucking insects of the tropical and subtropical zones. The manifestation of the disease may be visceral (kala-azar), mucocutaneous (American Leishmaniasis) or cutaneous (Aleppo boil). The incubation time varies from several weeks to months. More than 12 million people suffer from the disease, many of them even die as a result of the lack of a successful therapy. The main drawback of the different treatment strategies is the development of antimonial drug resistance in combination with the complicated intravenious administration.
fevers: elevation of body temperature above normal.
Camp: included typhoid and many other diseases; a catch-all phrase. intermittent: recurring fevers; usually malaria was the cause. remittent: usually used to refer to malaria typhoid: a disease characterized by chills, fever, abdominal distention, and an enlarged spleen. yellow: acute infectious disease transmitted by mosquitoes in which the symptoms are jaundice, fever, and protein. Has two stages in which delirium and coma could be the results of the second one.
Zdenek Hubálek and Jirí Halouzka ,br> Academy of Sciences, Brno, Czech Republic
West Nile virus causes sporadic cases and outbreaks of human and equine disease in Europe (western Mediterranean and southern Russia in 1962-64, Belarus and Ukraine in the 1970s and 1980s, Romania in 1996-97, Czechland in 1997, and Italy in 1998). Environmental factors, including human activities, that enhance population densities of vector mosquitoes (heavy rains followed by floods, irrigation, higher than usual temperature, or formation of ecologic niches that enable mass breeding of mosquitoes) could increase the incidence of West Nile fever.
The 1996-97 outbreak of West Nile fever in and near Bucharest, Romania, with more than 500 clinical cases and a case-fatality rate approaching 10% (1-3), was the largest outbreak of arboviral illness in Europe since the Ockelbo-Pogosta-Karelian fever epidemic caused by Sindbis virus in northern Europe in the 1980s. This latest outbreak reaffirmed that mosquito-borne viral diseases may occur on a mass scale, even in temperate climates.
West Nile virus is a member of the Japanese encephalitis antigenic complex of the genus Flavivirus, family Flaviviridae (4). All known members of this complex (Alfuy, Japanese encephalitis, Kokobera, Koutango, Kunjin, Murray Valley encephalitis, St. Louis encephalitis, Stratford, Usutu, and West Nile viruses) are transmissible by mosquitoes and many of them can cause febrile, sometimes fatal, illnesses in humans.
West Nile virus was first isolated from the blood of a febrile woman in the West Nile district of Uganda in 1937 (5) and was subsequently isolated from patients, birds, and mosquitoes in Egypt in the early 1950s (6-7). The virus was soon recognized as the most widespread of the flaviviruses, with geographic distribution including Africa and Eurasia. Outside Europe (Figure), the virus has been reported from Algeria, Asian Russia, Azerbaijan, Botswana, Central African Republic, Côte d'Ivoire, Cyprus, Democratic Republic of Congo (former Zaire), Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Israel, Kazakhstan, Madagascar, Morocco, Mozambique, Nigeria, Pakistan, Senegal, South Africa, Tajikistan, Turkmenia, Uganda, and Uzbekistan. Furthermore, West Nile virus antibodies have been detected in human sera from Armenia, Borneo, China, Georgia, Iraq, Kenya, Lebanon, Malaysia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Thailand, Tunisia, and Turkey (8-10). Kunjin virus is closely related to West Nile virus (11,12), representing a counterpart or subtype for Australia and Southeast Asia; some West Nile virus seroreactions in Southeast Asia may, in fact, represent antibodies to Kunjin virus.
Hundreds of West Nile fever cases have been described in Israel and South Africa. The largest African epidemic, with approximately 3,000 clinical cases, occurred in an arid region of the Cape Province after heavy rains in 1974 (23). An outbreak with approximately 50 patients, eight of whom died, was described in Algeria in 1994 (1). Other cases or outbreaks have been observed in Azerbaijan, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo (former Zaire), Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Madagascar, Nigeria, Pakistan, Senegal, Sudan, and in a few European countries.
Thank you for the information. The Romania case seems to be the most serious outbreak of the West Nile virus in a climate comparable to the U.S. climate. Romania is 91,725 square miles, approximately the size of Oregon. If the West Nile virus had been spread across the entire European continent in three years then our current experience would not be unique, however, it did not.
There is little question that West Nile is a naturally occurring virus. The unproven suggestion is that an enemy may have intentionally spread the West Nile virus in the U.S., since there are no historical precedents for a mosquito-borne virus to completely cover the U.S. in three years. Of course there is a first time for everything.
I am not convinced that established migratory bird patterns support the spread in three years, absent intervention. For example, birds do not migrate from New York to Oregon.
1460 Laboratory positive human cases
I guess a better example for the moment would be that birds do not migrate from NY to Montana, however,heath officials in Oregon are expecting the virus in their state any day now.
Beyond the innocents, who's getting fingered here? The first outbreak is related to an Israel outbreak in 1998.
The process involves birds, mosquitos, and a virus. A single bird doesn't need to travel the distance. Several birds and mosquitos can. It's a small, small world.
Mosquitoes, largely bird-feeding species, are the principal vectors of West Nile virus. The virus has been isolated from 43 mosquito species, predominantly of the genus Culex (Table 1). In Africa and the Middle East, the main vector is Cx. univittatus (although Cx. poicilipes, Cx. neavei, Cx. decens, Aedes albocephalus, or Mimomyia spp. play an important role in certain areas). In Europe, the principal vectors are Cx. pipiens, Cx. modestus, and Coquillettidia richiardii, and in Asia, Cx. quinquefasciatus, Cx. tritaeniorhynchus, and Cx. vishnui predominate. Successful experimental transmission of the virus has been described in Culiseta longiareolata, Cx. bitaeniorhynchus, and Ae. albopictus (8,13). Transovarial transmission of the virus has been demonstrated in Cx. tritaeniorhynchus, Ae. aegypti, and Ae. albopictus, though at low rates.
Virus isolations have occasionally been reported from other hematophagous arthropods (e.g., bird-feeding argasid [soft] or amblyommine [hard] ticks) (Table 1), and experimental transmission has been observed in Ornithodoros savignyi, O. moubata, O.maritimus, O. erraticus, Rhipicephalus sanguineus, R. rossicus, Dermacentor reticulatus, and Haemaphysalis leachii (8,13).
Wild birds are the principal hosts of West Nile virus. The virus has been isolated from a number of wetland and terrestrial avian species in diverse areas (7-10,14-16). High, long-term viremia, sufficient to infect vector mosquitoes, has been observed in infected birds (7,17,18). The virus persists in the organs of inoculated ducks and pigeons for 20 to 100 days (18). Migratory birds are therefore instrumental in the introduction of the virus to temperate areas of Eurasia during spring migrations (12,14-16,19).
Rarely, West Nile virus has been isolated from mammals (Arvicanthis niloticus, Apodemus flavicollis, Clethrionomys glareolus, sentinel mice and hamsters, Lepus europaeus, Rousettus leschenaulti, camels, cattle, horses, dogs, Galago senegalensis, humans) in enzootic foci (8-10). Mammals are less important than birds in maintaining transmission cycles of the virus in ecosystems. Only horses and lemurs (20) have moderate viremia and seem to support West Nile virus circulation locally. Frogs (Rana ridibunda) also can harbor the virus, and their donor ability for Cx. pipiens has been confirmed (21).
Although Palearctic natural foci of West Nile virus infections are mainly situated in wetland ecosystems (river deltas or flood plains) and are characterized by the bird-mosquito cycle, argasid and amblyommine ticks may serve as substitute vectors and form a bird-tick cycle in certain dry and warm habitats lacking mosquitoes. Even a frog-mosquito cycle (21) may function under certain circumstances.
In Europe, West Nile virus circulation is confined to two basic types of cycles and ecosystems: rural (sylvatic) cycle (wild, usually wetland birds and ornithophilic mosquitoes) and urban cycle (synanthropic or domestic birds and mosquitoes feeding on both birds and humans, mainly Cx. pipiens/molestus). The principal cycle is rural, but the urban cycle predominated in Bucharest during the 1996-97 outbreak (2,3). Circulation of West Nile fever in Europe is similar to that of St. Louis encephalitis in North America, where the rural cycle of exoanthropic birdsCx. tarsalis alternates with the urban cycle of synanthropic birdsCx. pipiens/quinquefasciatus.
WNV is endemic in many bird populations around the world. I have a hard time even imagining how or why anyone would suspect terrorist involvement. But, it's coming from Leahy...
could going to war with Iraq be the only way we can get put an end to all the chemical weapons we provided them?
gotta remember, these people are "low tech".
HAHAHAHA...... but thats going toooooooo low, don't you think.
Unfortunately, I believe the answer is yes. I hope at least future Administrations will learn from our mistake in arming Saddam Hussein in the 1980's.
As a member of the U.S. Senate, Senator Riegle invesitgated the U.S. transfer of anthrax, West Nile virus, and other biological agents to Iraq.