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PLAGUES AND PESTILLENCES


SCIENTISTS WARN OF RISE IN DISEASES SPREAD FROM ANIMALS TO HUMANS


The London Daily Telegraph reports: “Climate change and environmental disruption are spawning a host of new diseases being passed from animals to humans, scientists have warned.

At least 45 such diseases have been reported to UN agencies over the past two decades and more are expected to be identified in coming years.

Experts at the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in Washington claim that the world is braced for an increase in outbreaks due to global warming and changes in land use and farming practices.

Dr Montira Pongsiri, an environmental health scientist at the EPA, told the Independent: ‘We appear to be undergoing a distinct change in global disease ecology.

‘The recent emergence of infectious diseases appears to be driven by globalisation and ecological disruption.’

He and eight colleagues examined five emerging and re-emerging diseases – malaria, lyme disease (spread by ticks), Hantavirus (spread by mice and rats), West Nile disease (spread by mosquitoes), and schistosomiasis (spread by freshwater snails).

The researchers said that the number of people who succumbed to infectious diseases dropped in the developed world during the industrial revolution.

However, the rise of manufacturing and pollution levels increased the incidence of chronic diseases including cancer, allergies and birth defects.

They believe we are now experiencing another transition driven by the destruction of plant and animal habitats, the loss of species and changes that have brought more humans into closer contact with animals than at any stage in human history.

HIV is the best known example of a disease passed from animals to humans which went on to cause the global Aids pandemic. The virus is thought to have crossed from chimpanzees to humans in West Africa in the last century and more than 25 million people worldwide have since died from it.

The swine flu pandemic that emerged in Mexico last March also resulted from the mixing of viruses that infected pigs, birds and humans to create a new pandemic strain…” (Jesus mentioned the increase of pestilences upon earth preceding His return – Matthew 24:7; Luke 21. John also predicts the problem as being caused by “the beasts of the field” – Revelation 6:7, 8.)


MORE PEOPLE COULD HAVE ‘MAD COW DISEASE’ THAN PREVIOUSLY THOUGHT


Guardian.co.uk reports: “More people may be incubating variant CJD, the human version of so-called ‘mad cow disease’, than was previously thought, according to scientists who today report an unusual case of the disease. All those tested worldwide since 1994 when the first cases were identified have been MM homozygous.

However, a 30-year-old man who died of vCJD in January 2009 was found to have a different genetic makeup from the rest of the 200 or so people diagnosed around the world, and identified as MV heterozygous.

Six months before the man was diagnosed with the disease, he had been admitted to hospital suffering from personality changes, unsteadiness in walking that became progressively worse, and intellectual decline. He told doctors he had severe leg pain and memory problems. Two months later, he developed visual hallucinations. The symptoms got progressively worse and an MRI scan confirmed vCJD .

Doctors from the MRC Prion Unit and National Prion Clinic at the UCL Institute of Neurology, and the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery in London,, report the unusual case in today’s Lancet medical journal.

The observation could be of concern. In some other human prion diseases, such as kuru – thought to be linked to cannibalism in Papua New Guinea – people who are MV heterozygous have incubated the disease for longer than those who are MM homozygous before symptoms have shown. Some MV heterozygous patients are reported to have incubated kuru for over 50 years.

It is possible, doctors say, that vCJD takes longer to develop in people who are MV heterozygous than in MV homozygous people.

‘The majority of the UK population have potentially been exposed to BSE prions but the extent of clinically silent infection remains unclear,’ say the authors of the paper. About a third of the population have the MM homozygous genotype – and until now all the cases came from this group. If individuals with other genotypes are similarly susceptible to developing prion disease after exposure to BSE, further cases would be expected, they say…”



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