Anthrax origin -- Fort Detrick
Chronic Pneumonia may lead to Chronic Asthma
Gulf War syndrome
The Baghdad Boil
NEWS ARTICLE from The Columbus Dispatch, 12-16-01, By Seth Borenstein, Knight Ridder Newspaper
``WASHINGTON -- Fearing that hibernating anthrax spores may outlast antibiotics, federal officials said yesterday that they might soon offer the anthrax vaccine to more than 3,000 people exposed to the virus ...
Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson will decide whether to give the vaccine to qualified people who request it. Those who could qualify include postal workers in mail-sorting centers in Trenton, N.J., and Washington ...
If Thompson chooses to make the vaccine available, the shots can start next week, said D. A. Henderson, U.S. director of public-health preparedness.
The vaccine, which is in short supply and has some side effects, was designed for preventative use, not for those who already have been exposed to anthrax. Federal guidelines have called for those individuals to receive 60 days of antibiotics, often Cipro.
Because spores can spring back to life, "we need to be a little more careful looking beyond 60 days,'' Henderson said at the symposium, which was put on by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ...
Spores can lie dormant and cause trouble much later. A review of studies indicates that an anthrax spore may hide in a lung "like a marble,'' said Emory University epidemiologist Phil Brachman.
"It's a smart cookie. It makes a little capsule around itself like a cocoon. And it can survive for years.''
Officials said they are concerned that previous research on lethal doses of anthrax were based on wet anthrax sprayed in the air. But the bacteria discovered in the past couple months -- dry anthrax, sent through the mail -- appears to be more potent.
Dr. Greg Martin, chief of infectious diseases at Walter Reed Army Hospital, described an unpublished Canadian study: A test letter loaded with a powdered bacteria with properties similar to anthrax was opened in a sealed room, and researchers found at least 3,000 potentially lethal doses of spores spread around the room in just 10 minutes ...''
NEWS ARTICLE from The Plain Dealer, 12-16-01, By Rick Weiss and Susan Schmidt, Washington Post
``Anthrax mailed to Capitol Hill genetically tied to Army stock
WASHINGTON -- Genetic fingerprinting studies indicate that the anthrax spores mailed to Capitol Hill are identical to stocks of the deadly bacteria maintained by the U.S. Army since 1980, according to scientists familiar with the most recent tests.
Although many laboratories have the Ames strain of anthrax involved in this fall's bioterrorist attacks, only five laboratories so far have been found to have spores with perfect genetic matches to those in the Senate letters, the scientists said.
... All those labs can trace back their samples to a single U.S. military source: the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Disease (USAMRIID) at Fort Detrick, Md.
"That means the original source [of the terrorist material] had to have been USAMRIID," said one of the scientists.
Those matching samples are at Fort Detrick; the Dugway Proving Ground military research facility in Utah; a British military lab called Porton Down; and microbial depositories at Louisiana State University and Northern Arizona University.
Northern Arizona University received its sample from LSU, which received its sample from Porton Down. Dugway and Porton Down got their samples directly from USAMRIID ...
The FBI's investigation into the anthrax attacks is increasingly focusing on whether U.S. government bioweapons research programs, including one conducted by the CIA, may have been the source of deadly anthrax powder sent through the mail, according to sources with knowledge of the probe ...
But it remains unknown which lab may have lost control of the material that apparently ended up in terrorist hands ...
Of the domestic labs, Dugway has attracted the most attention from the FBI. Dugway is also the only facility known in recent years to have processed anthrax spores into the powdery form that is most easily inhaled ...
The scientists are still planning to do genetic testing on anthrax bacteria from the Defense Research Establishment Suffield, a Canadian military research facility, the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, and the Battelle Memorial Institute in Columbus, Ohio, a government contractor doing research on anthrax vaccines. Those are the only other facilities known to have received samples from USAMRIID ''
NEWS ARTICLE from Reuters, 12-17-01
[Chronic Pneumonia may lead to Chronic Asthma]
``CHICAGO -- A lung infection that causes pneumonia can persist even after recovery from the illness and may lead to chronic asthma, researchers said Monday.
A study of mice infected with the Mycoplasma pneumoniae, which is a common respiratory infection in people, found remnants of the infection in the animals' lungs as long as 18 months later, and many developed the bronchial constriction associated with asthma attacks.
``We speculate that Mycoplasma pneumoniae may be able to establish long-term infection in children and adults that leads to wheezing long after the initial respiratory infection has resolved,'' lead researcher Robert Hardy of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas said in a statement.
From eight to 18 months after the test mice were infected, researchers found they had inflamed lung tissue similar to that in asthmatics and also detected interleukin-4 in their blood, an immunological marker often found in asthmatics.
Asthma is a growing epidemic, especially among children, that has been variously blamed on environmental pollution, weaker immune systems, and other causes. [Sounds like the excuses used to deny a contiuning bacterial presence as the cause of Lyme Disease.] ...''
NEWS ARTICLE from The Plain Dealer, 10-6-01, By Suzanne Gamboa, Associated Press
``Gulf vets' children have more birth defects, study says
WASHINGTON -- The children of Gulf War veterans are two to three times as likely as those of other vets to have birth defects, suggests a government study based on questionnaires and interviews with the veterans.
Gulf vets reported more miscarriages, too.
The research [was] published in this month's Annals of Epidemiology.
The latest study, conducted by the Department of Veterans Affairs and Johns Hopkins University scientists, surveyed Gulf and non-Gulf veterans from all four service branches.
Just under 21,000 active and retired military, reserve and National Guard members answered questionnaires about their health, reproductive outcomes, exposure to risk factors and other issues.
About 70 percent of those who were sent questionnaires responded.
"Veterans are very concerned that they have a higher risk of bearing children with birth defects," said Dr. Han Kang, a Veterans Affairs epidemiologist and the lead researcher. ...
The Pentagon says an estimated 90,000 troops who served in the Gulf War complain of maladies including memory loss, anxiety, fatigue, nausea, balance problems and chronic muscle and joint pain.
The ailments are known collectively as Gulf War Syndrome. Some veterans also worry that their war exposure harmed their reproductive health, making them more likely to have babies with serious birth defects ...''
Article by David H. Hackworth, 3-15-2004
``Batten Down the Mosquito Netting
Since the war kicked off in Iraq, the medical team at Walter Reed Army Medical Center (WRAMC) has been putting in long hours, especially the overtaxed orthopedic staff charged with caring for the thousands of soldiers who've lost arms and legs ...
Now a new wave of unexpected horror, leishmaniasis, is arriving at WRAMC, which has the only accredited leishmaniasis lab in the United States, and its dedicated docs are burning the midnight oil to find a treatment. A model predicts that 1 percent to 4 percent of our soldiers in Iraq can expect to be hit by this potentially deadly parasite, delivered by the bite of infected sand flies as common in the Middle East as fleas on a wild dog ...
The docs say it takes anywhere from weeks to months to years for the disease to manifest, and when it does, it's ugly -- huge, ulcerated nodules the size of a tumor on faces and hands and other body parts which leave long-term scars. Stricken soldiers can have as many as 20 to 30 festering boil-like sores.
Some docs at WRAMC worry that we could be looking at a ticking time bomb, since leishmaniasis might take as long as 20 years to show up. Thousands of our troopers who fought in Iraq and were heavily exposed to sand flies while pushing toward Baghdad are now back home, and they might have what the troops call 'The Baghdad Boil' without having a clue ...
To date, the majority of cases have been the non-life-threatening cutaneous surface variety. Only two cases of its more vicious cousin, visceral leishmaniasis, which can be terminal, have checked into WRAMC. But because both stricken soldiers returned home from Afghanistan a year ago, docs caution that these could be just the tip of the iceberg ...
From a military perspective, a sand-fly bite can have the same consequence as a bullet: leaving an empty hole in a unit team. So far, the Army has lost almost a battalion of soldiers to this bug ...''