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6 Already Dead And Deadly Fungus Spreading In US, Canada
04-26-2010, 08:16 AM,
#1
6 Already Dead And Deadly Fungus Spreading In US, Canada
Quote:6 Already Dead And Deadly Fungus Spreading In US, Canada
Contributed by Anonymous (Editor)
Monday, April 26, 2010 12:27

WASHINGTON, April 22 (Reuters) - A potentially deadly strain of fungus is spreading among animals and people in the northwestern United States and the Canadian province of British Columbia, researchers reported on Thursday.

The airborne fungus, called Cryptococcus gattii, usually only infects transplant and AIDS patients and people with otherwise compromised immune systems, but the new strain is genetically different, the researchers said.

"This novel fungus is worrisome because it appears to be a threat to otherwise healthy people," said Edmond Byrnes of Duke University in North Carolina, who led the study.

"The findings presented here document that the outbreak of C. gattii in Western North America is continuing to expand throughout this temperate region," the researchers said in their report, published in the Public Library of Science journal PLoS Pathogens at http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1000850.

"Our findings suggest further expansion into neighboring regions is likely to occur and aim to increase disease awareness in the region."

The new strain appears to be unusually deadly, with a mortality rate of about 25 percent among the 21 U.S. cases analyzed, they said.

Read more and from another source they report

A new strain of hypervirulent, deadly fungus has been discovered in the United States, a new study says.

The outbreak has already killed six people in Oregon, and it will likely creep into northern California and possibly farther, experts say.

The new strain is of the species Cryptococcus gattii, an airborne fungus native to tropical and subtropical regions, including Papua New Guinea, Australia, and parts of South America. An older strain of the fungus was frst detected in North America in British Columbia, Canada, in 1999.

No one knows how the species got to North America or how the fungus can thrive in a temperate region, experts say.

"The alarming thing is that it's occurring in this region, it's affecting healthy people, and geographically it's been expanding," said study co-author Edmond Byrnes, a graduate student at the Joseph Heitman Lab at Duke University.

Less common than bacterial and viral infections, fungal diseases usually strike people with weakened immune systems—part of what makes the recent deaths of otherwise healthy people in Oregon so worrisome.

People can become infected with Cryptococcus gattii by inhaling the microscopic organisms—and there's not much you can do about it.

There's no vaccination or other preventative measure available for the new strain, though the infection can be treated with antibiotics, the study says. And "there are no particular precautions that can be taken to avoid Cryptococcosis,"according to the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control. "You can, however, be alert for long lasting or severe symptoms and consult a physician (or veterinarian for animals) for early diagnosis and treatment."

Appearing several months after exposure to the fungus, the infection causes a bad cough and shortness of breath, among other symptoms.

On a positive note, fungal infections, unlike viruses, can't be passed from person to person.

(See pictures of a new species of glowing fungi.)
http://members.beforeitsnews.com/news/35889/6_Already_Dead_And_Deadly_Fungus_Spreading_In_US,_Canada.html
http://digg.com/health/6_Already_Dead_And_Deadly_Fungus_Spreading_In_US_Canada_B
There are no others, there is only us.
http://FastTadpole.com/
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04-26-2010, 05:25 PM, (This post was last modified: 04-26-2010, 05:33 PM by lockntross.)
#2
RE: 6 Already Dead And Deadly Fungus Spreading In US, Canada
Weird, reading the article "An enzyme called luciferase triggers a pigment called luciferin to oxidize, and the reaction emits light."

The name is derived from Lucifer, the root of which means light-bearer (lucem ferre). Luciferins (from the Latin lucifer, "light-bringer") are a class of light-emitting biological pigments found in organisms that causes bioluminescence.


That's crazy. There's no other root word for light? Comon... really? Lucious? Yeah, I study mushrooms and satan worship. I just found a way to combine my hobbies....
Reply
04-26-2010, 06:55 PM,
#3
RE: 6 Already Dead And Deadly Fungus Spreading In US, Canada
Alarming. At least if freezing kills it then it isn't feasible for terrorists to release spores from jetliners
Reply
04-26-2010, 08:15 PM,
#4
RE: 6 Already Dead And Deadly Fungus Spreading In US, Canada
If anyone happens to contract this, I'd suggest Grapefruit seed extract, rather than antibiotics. antibiotics screw up your immune system, and GSE works better on parasites like fungus, amoebas, and other micro-organisms, and doesn't kill off your intestinal flora.

This sounds like it was engineered or came from a mutation due to it propagating on genetically modified crops. If that's the case, antibiotics might not work at all.
[Image: conspiracy_theory.jpg]
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04-26-2010, 10:16 PM, (This post was last modified: 04-26-2010, 10:51 PM by ---.)
#5
RE: 6 Already Dead And Deadly Fungus Spreading In US, Canada
Cryptococcosis

Cryptococcosis is infection with Cryptococcus neoformans fungus.
Causes

Cryptococcus neoformans, the fungus that causes this disease, is ordinarily found in soil. It enters and infects the body through the lungs. Once inhaled, infection with cryptococcosis may go away on its own, remain in the lungs only, or spread throughout the body (disseminate).

Most cases are in people with a weakened immune system, such as those with HIV infection, taking high doses of corticosteroid medications, cancer chemotherapy, or who have Hodgkin's disease.

In people with a normal immune system, the lung (pulmonary) form of the infection may have no symptoms. In people with impaired immune systems, the cryptococcus organism may spread to the brain.

Neurological (brain) symptoms begin gradually. Most people with this infection have meningoencephalitis (swelling and irritation of the brain and spinal cord) when they are diagnosed.

Cryptococcus is one of the most common life-threatening fungal infections in people with AIDS.
Symptoms

* Blurred vision or double vision (diplopia)
* Bone pain or tenderness of the breastbone (sternum)
* Chest pain
* Confusion
* Cough -- dry
* Fatigue
* Fever
* Headache
* Nausea
* Skin rash -- pinpoint red spots (petechiae)
* Sweating -- unusual, excessive at night
* Swollen glands
* Unintentional weight loss
* Weakness

Note: People with a normal immune system may have no symptoms at all.
Exams and Tests

* Sputum culture and stain
* Lung biopsy
* Bronchoscopy
* Cerebrospinal Fluid culture and stain for Cryptococcus
* Chest x-ray
* Cryptococcal antigen test (looks for a certain molecule that the Cryptococcus fungus can shed into the blood)

Treatment

Some infections require no treatment. Even so, there should be regular check-ups for a full year to make sure the infection has not spread. If there are lung lesions or the disease spreads, antifungal medications are prescribed. These drugs may need to be taken for a long time.

Medications include:

* Amphotericin B
* Flucytosine
* Fluconazole

Outlook (Prognosis)

Central nervous system involvement often causes death or leads to permanent damage.
Possible Complications

* Infection comes back
* Meningitis
* Permanent brain or nerve damage
* Side effects of medications (such as Amphotericin B) can be severe

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your health care provider if you develop symptoms of cryptococcosis, especially if you have a weakened immune system.
Prevention

Take the lowest doses of corticosteroid medications possible. Practice safe sex to reduce the risk of getting HIV and the infections associated with a weakened immune system.
References
Kauffman CA. Cryptococcosis. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007: chap 357.
Update Date: 9/28/2008

Updated by: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; Jatin M. Vyas, MD, PhD, Instructor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Assistant in Medicine, Division of Infectious Disease, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

----

...[]# Cryptococcus inhabits soil naturally but can be inhaled. This fungus may cause serious diseases such as meningitis, and is a common threat for immuno-compromised individuals, like those with AIDS. In most healthy individuals, however, the body is capable of preventing an infection.
Herbal/Alternative Cures
# For yeast infections and other fungi that aren't potentially life-threatening, many antifungal herbs exist in nature that can eradicate an infection. The best known is garlic, which can cure a variety of ailments from colds to vaginal yeast. You can eat garlic raw or mix it with your food. Garlic also will help build your immune system to prevent further infections and ailments.

You may also want to try chamomile, barberry, oregano or cloves. These are common herbs that can be found at most grocery stores. Make them into a strong tea or tincture; then drink daily.

The presence of probiotics, or "good" bacteria, in your body is vital for your immune system's strength. Since our immune system can usually prevent a serious fungal infection, keeping it strong is crucial. Probiotics can easily be depleted, especially when we take antibiotics, which kill any and all bacteria encountered. This actually weakens our immune system over time and requires the probiotics to be replenished. Many sources exist, like yogurt and other enriched dairy products. Kefir is another excellent source. Simply eating probiotic-laden foods will provide your body with its much-needed "good" bacteria.
Antifungal Medication
# Most fungal infections can be treated with medication. The type of infection you have determines the type of medication your doctor may prescribe. For example, amphotericin may treat yeast infections of the mouth and throat, while voriconazole may treat systemic (deep organ) yeast infections.

Prescription fungicides may be more costly than herbal or home remedies, but in certain cases they're well worth it. Some infections, like cryptococcosis, may even require medications to prevent further complications or damage. Amphotericin B as well as flucazonale can be used for this particular fungus, though the former carries potentially severe side effects.
Quote:JAC Advance Access originally published online on March 29, 2008
Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy 2008 62(1):205-206; doi:10.1093/jac/dkn132

Published by Oxford University Press
MICs and minimum fungicidal concentrations of posaconazole, voriconazole and fluconazole for Cryptococcus neoformans and Cryptococcus gattii
Josep M. Torres-Rodríguez1,2,*, Eidi Alvarado-Ramírez1,2, Francisca Murciano1 and Maite Sellart1,2

1 Infectious Disease and Mycology Research Unit, Institut Municipal d'Investigació Mèdica, Parc de Recerca Biomèdica de Barcelona, Dr Aiguader 88, 08003 Barcelona, Spain 2 UDIMAS, Autonomous University of Barcelona, Dr Aiguader 80, 08003 Barcelona, Spain

* Correspondence address. Infectious Disease and Mycology Research Unit, Institut Municipal d'Investigació Mèdica, Parc de Recerca Biomèdica de Barcelona, Dr Aiguader 88, Barcelona 08003, Spain. Tel: +34-933160400; Fax: +34-933160410; E-mail: jmtorres@imim.es

Keywords: antifungals , triazoles , yeast , in vitro susceptibility

Sir,

The major aetiological species of cryptococcosis is Cryptococcus neoformans, which is distributed especially in association with pigeon droppings, and the most common infection is in the CNS of immunocompromised patients. Cryptococcus gattii, previously considered a biovariety of C. neoformans, is the second agent of cryptococcosis; four basic serotypes have been described: A and D for C. neoformans and B and C for C. gattii. Although its geographical distribution is restricted, C. gattii is being reported in new areas and has produced epidemic outbreaks in humans and animals.1 Unlike C. neoformans, C. gattii can infect immunocompetent subjects.

The majority of the isolates from both species are susceptible to azoles in vitro,2 although most reports do not discriminate between Cryptococcus species and serotypes. The main goal of this study was to determine the MICs and minimum fungicidal concentrations (MFCs) of the new antifungal drug posaconazole in comparison with those of voriconazole and fluconazole for C. neoformans and C. gattii isolates from various sources.

A total of 80 isolates of Cryptococcus from the collection of the Research Unit on Infectious Diseases and Mycology (Barcelona, Spain) were studied. Seventy-five were isolated from the CSF of patients infected with HIV, and five isolates were cultured from environmental samples. Fifty strains were C. neoformans: 25 serotype A (variety grubii) and 25 serotype D (variety neoformans). The remaining 30 isolates were C. gattii strains: 25 serotype B and 5 serotype C. Candida parapsilosis ATCC 22019 and Candida krusei ATCC 6258 were used for quality control. [...]
http://jac.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/full/62/1/205

Quote:Voriconazole (VFEND, Pfizer) is a triazole antifungal medication that is generally used to treat serious, invasive fungal infections. These are generally seen in patients who are immunocompromised, and include invasive candidiasis, invasive aspergillosis, and certain emerging fungal infections.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voriconazole
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04-26-2010, 11:38 PM, (This post was last modified: 04-27-2010, 12:14 AM by ---.)
#6
RE: 6 Already Dead And Deadly Fungus Spreading In US, Canada
Activity of voriconazole against Cryptococcus neoformans var. gattii vs var. neoformans: effect of human serum.

Kamei K, Brummer E, Nishimura K, Miyaji M; American Society for Microbiology. General Meeting.
Abstr Gen Meet Am Soc Microbiol. 1998 May 17-21; 98: 270 (abstract no. F-100).

Res. Ctr. Path. Fungi, Chiba Univ., Japan.

Cryptococcus neoformans (CN) var gattii infections are more common in immunocompetent humans than CN var neoformans, more difficult to treat, and is considered to be a primary pathogen. Possible differences in susceptibility of CN gattii and CN neoformans to voriconazole (VCZ), an new triazole with wide-spectrum activity, was tested in two different systems. Testing in RPMI-1640 and using reduction of colony-forming units (cfu) in 24 h assays to measure the activity of VCZ it was found that CN gattii and CN neoformans had similar susceptibilities. When VCZ was compared with fluconazole (FCZ) it was 10-fold more potent, e.g. VCZ @ 1 microgram/ml produced the same inhibition as FCZ @ 10 micrograms/ml. If testing was done in RPMI-1640 + 10% fresh human serum (HS) there was a collaborative effect between the inhibitory activity of HS and VCZ resulting in killing (reduction of inoculum cfu) of CN neoformans, e.g. killing by VCZ @ 1/la/ml was 69%. This effect was similar to that of HS and FCZ (10 micrograms/ml) previously reported. By contrast, there was no collaborative effect of inhibitory HS and VCZ against CN gattii for killing of 3 different isolates tested. These results indicate that CN gattii is more resistant than CN neoformans when tested in a system that simulates human in vivo conditions. This result may relate to the difficulty in treating CN gattii infections.
Publication Types:

* Meeting Abstracts

Keywords:

* Animals
* Antigens, Fungal
* Cryptococcosis
* Cryptococcus neoformans
* Fluconazole
* Humans
* Pyrimidines
* Triazoles
* immunology
* voriconazole

Other ID:

* 98296591

UI: 102226555

From Meeting Abstracts

http://gateway.nlm.nih.gov/MeetingAbstracts/ma?f=102226555.html
so in 1998 already it was known that an outbreak of this fungal strain would be essentially untreatable.
Quote:Abstract
Minimal inhibitory concentrations (MIC) and minimal fungicidal activity of albaconazole, voriconazole and fluconazole against 55 strains of Cryptococcus gattii, clinically or environmentally isolated in Spain and some Latin American countries, were assessed. By means of the microbroth method (National Committee for Clinical Laboratory Standards; document M27-A2), the geometric mean value for fluconazole was 5.01 µg/ml; however, MIC for 12.7% of isolates ranged from 16 to 32 µg/ml, suggesting increased resistance against fluconazole. Geometric mean values of 0.02 and 0.03 µg/ml for albaconazole and voriconazole, respectively, were found, indicating not only a higher susceptibility to these new azoles but also a better performance of albaconazole (P = 0.003). Minimal fungicidal concentrations were also very low for albaconazole and voriconazole (P<0.001; geometric mean values of 0.023 µg/ml and 0.07 µg/ml, respectively). Both azoles may be good alternatives for the treatment of C. gattii cryptococcosis.
Keywords: albaconazole; Cryptococcus gattii; fluconazole; in vitro susceptibility; voriconazole
http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/content~db=all~content=a723825995
Quote:Our findings have important implications for the pathogenesis of cryptococcosis and suggest that phenotypic switching affects host-pathogen interactions in the local microenvironment. This altered interaction then selects for specific colony variants to arise in a pathogen population.

Phenotypic Switching in a Cryptococcus neoformans Variety gattii Strain Is Associated with Changes in Virulence and Promotes Dissemination to the Central Nervous System
http://iai.asm.org/cgi/content/abstract/74/2/896
http://ec.asm.org/cgi/content/full/8/6/858
NEWS AND EVENTS

This is Your Brain on Cryptococcus: Pathogenic Fungus Loves Your Brain Sugar
By Duke News and Communications
(Published April 6, 2010)

Durham, N.C. — Highly dangerous Cryptococcus fungi love sugar and will consume it anywhere because it helps them reproduce. In particular, they thrive on a sugar called inositol which is abundant in the human brain and spinal cord.

To borrow inositol from a person’s brain, the fungi have an expanded set of genes that encode for sugar transporter molecules. While a typical fungus has just two such genes, Cryptococcus have almost a dozen, according to Joseph Heitman, MD, PhD, chairman of the Duke Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology.

“Inositol is abundant in the human brain and in the fluid that bathes it (cerebral spinal fluid), which may be why this fungus has a predilection to infect the brain and cause meningitis,” Heitman said. “It has the machinery to efficiently move sugar molecules inside of its cells and thrive.”

The findings on Cryptococcus genes were published online this week in the inaugural issue of mBio, a new open access microbiology journal.

This specialized brain attack likely occurred because these fungi adapted to grow on plants in the wild, which also are abundant in inositol, said lead author Chaoyang Xue, PhD, formerly a postdoctoral research associate in the Heitman lab and now an assistant professor at the Public Health Research Institute at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. “In fact, this pathogenic yeast has more inositol transporters than all other fungi we have compared it to in the fungal kingdom, based on what we know from genome research.”

The team of researchers discovered that inositol stimulates Cryptococcus to sexually reproduce. “A connection between the high concentration of free inositol and fungal infection in the human brain is suggested by our studies,” Xue said. “Establishing such a connection could open up a new way to control this deadly fungus.”

Cryptococcus’ love for sugar may also be a fungal Achilles' heel, Heitman said. “Now scientists may be able to target the fungi by developing ways to put them on the fungal equivalent of an Atkin's low-carbohydrate diet so they will stop multiplying.”

He said researchers could use the new findings to devise different types of strategies to block Cryptococcus infections.

These studies will be reported in the inaugural issue of the journal mBio, which will be launched in May by the American Society for Microbiology as an online journal that spans all areas of microbiology.

Other authors include Lydia Chen and Wenjun Li of the Duke Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology; Tongbao Liu of the Public Health Research Institute, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey; Iris Liu and James Kronstrad of Michael Smith Laboratories, University of British Columbia; and Andreas Seyfang of the Department of Molecular Medicine at the University of South Florida.

This work was supported by National Institutes of Health/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases grants. This work was also supported by the new Investigator institutional start-up fund from UMDNJ.

http://mgm.duke.edu/microbial/news/heitman_5.html
NEWS AND EVENTS

New Strain of Virulent Airborne Fungi, Unique to Oregon, Is Set to Spread
By Duke News and Communications
(Published April 22, 2010)

Durham, N.C. — A newly discovered strain of an airborne fungus has caused several deaths in Oregon and seems poised to move into California and other adjacent areas, according to scientists at Duke University Medical Center.

“This novel fungus is worrisome because it appears to be a threat to otherwise healthy people,” said Edmond Byrnes III, a graduate student in the Duke Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology. “Typically, we see this fungal disease associated with transplant recipients and HIV-infected patients, but that is not what we are seeing.”

Byrnes and other Duke co-authors work in the laboratory of senior author Joseph Heitman, MD, PhD, chair of the Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology.

Their new work on the emergence and virulence of the new genotypes of Cryptococcus gattii fungi in the United States was published online in PLoS Pathogens on April 22.

The mortality rate for recent C. gattii cases in the Pacific Northwest is running at approximately 25 percent out of 21 cases analyzed in the United States, compared to a mortality rate of 8.7 percent out of 218 cases in British Columbia, Canada, the researchers said. Most have a more complicated clinical course than people infected with the more common Cryptococcus neoformans.

Because the strain is so virulent when it infects some humans and animals, the researchers are calling for greater awareness and vigilance. Testing involves culturing the fungus and then sequencing its DNA to learn whether it is the virulent or more benign strain, which could affect treatment plans.

Some strains of C. gattii are not more virulent than C. neoformans, for example, but doctors need to know what type they are dealing with, Byrnes said. Using molecular techniques, the geneticists uncovered clues that showed the Oregon-only fungal type most likely arose recently, in addition to an outbreak of C. gattii that began in Canada in 1999 that has now spread into Washington and Oregon.

Symptoms can appear two to several months after exposure, and may include a cough lasting weeks, sharp chest pain, shortness of breath, headache (related to meningitis), fever, nighttime sweats, and weight loss. In animals the symptoms are a runny nose, breathing problems, nervous system problems, and raised bumps under the skin.

While C. gattii can be treated, it cannot be prevented; there is no vaccine.

The new type of C. gattii reproduces both sexually and asexually. The more virulent strain may have genetically recombined with related but less harmful strains. This novel genotype is highly virulent compared with similar isolates of Cryptococcus that are not causing disease outbreaks.

The researchers found that the novel genotype (VGIIc) is now a major source of C. gattii illness in Oregon. Because C. gattii types had been found in tropical areas before, co-lead author Wenjun Li, MD, PhD, of Duke Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, speculates that environmental changes may be responsible for the evolution and emergence of this pathogen.

Determining the exact origin of the VGIIc type is difficult, and sampling thus far has failed to turn up isolates in Oregon soil, water, or trees.


“We are trying to put together the evolutionary story of where these types come from by closely studying the genetics of all samples possible,” said Yonathan Lewit, a research associate also in Duke Molecular Genetics and Microbiology. He said that cell components called mitochondria may play a role in the increased virulence of certain types.

VGIIc, the new Oregon strain, has yielded dozens of isolates in many specimens, including domesticated animals: cats, dogs, an alpaca, and a sheep. “Most of those are nonmigratory animals,” Byrnes said, explaining that the animals probably didn’t bring the pathogen from some other region, and most likely acquired it locally.


Other authors include Hansong Ma, Kerstin Voelz and Robin May of the Department of Molecular Pathobiology at the University of Birmingham, United Kingdom; Ping Ren and Vishnu Chaturvedi of the Mycology Laboratory at Wadsworth Center in Albany, N.Y.; Dee Carter of the Department of Molecular and Microbial Biosciences, the University of Sydney, Australia; and Robert Bildfell of the Department of Biomedical Sciences, Oregon State University, Corvallis.

This work was supported by National Institutes of Health/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases grants.
http://mgm.duke.edu/microbial/news/heitman_6.html

"odd" how it hasn't shown up in samples where the mycologists are looking places where it would be expected to be found.
could this in any way hint toward some manner of artificial introduction into the environs?
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05-09-2010, 08:40 AM,
#7
RE: 6 Already Dead And Deadly Fungus Spreading In US, Canada
H.P. Albarelli Jr. did recent interviews on Deadline Live and Truth Hertz (among others) that are worth checking out. Interesting link to this with Joseph Moshe.

Truth Hertz(2010-03-05)Hank Albarelli-A Terrible Mistake)AdFree
http://concen.org/tracker/torrents-details.php?id=14873&hit=1

Jack Blood - Deadline Live 2010.03.17

http://concen.org/tracker/torrents-details.php?id=15286

Jack Blood - Deadline Live 2010.05.06
http://concen.org/tracker/torrents-details.php?id=16674


Quote:Mystery Disease Linked to Missing Israeli Scientist
Friday 07 May 2010
by: H.P. Albarelli Jr.

Media outlets across the Northwest United States began reporting on April 24 that a strange, previously unknown strain of virulent airborne fungi that has already killed at least six people in Oregon, Washington and Idaho is spreading throughout the region. The fungus, according to expert microbiologists, who have expressed alarm about the emergence of the strain, is a new genotype of Cryptococcus gatti fungi. Cryptococcus gatti is normally found in tropical and subtropical locations in India, South America, Africa and Australia. Microbiologists in the United States are reporting that the strain found here, for reasons not yet fully understood, is far deadlier than any found overseas.

Physicians in the Pacific Northwest are reporting that an undetermined number of people in the region are ill from the effects of the strange strain. Physicians also say that the virulent strain can infect domestic animals as well as humans, and symptoms do not appear until anywhere from two to four months after exposure. Symptoms in humans include a lingering cough, sharp chest pains, fever, night-sweats, weight-loss, headaches and shortness of breath. The strain can be treated successfully, if detected early enough, with oral doses of antifungal medication, but it cannot be prevented, and there is no preventative vaccine. Undiagnosed, the fungus works its way into the spinal fluid and central nervous system and causes fatal meningitis.

The estimated mortality rate is about 25 percent of 21 cases analyzed. Several newspapers and media outlets in the US and overseas quote a researcher at Duke University's Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, Edmond Byrnes, as stating: "This novel fungus is worrisome because it appears to be a threat to otherwise healthy people. Typically, we see this fungal disease associated with transplant recipients and HIV-infected patients, but that is not what we are seeing."

Microbiologists and epidemiologists studying the strain say the mystery fungus came from an earlier fatal fungus that was first found on British Columbia's Vancouver Island in the fall of 2001, and perhaps as early as 1999. There the fungus infected and killed dogs, cats, horses, sheep, porpoises and at least 26 people. The disease spreads through spores carried by breezes and wind and when people and animals encounter infected ground where the fungus is present. A number of microbiologists say that the disease has "the potential to essentially travel anywhere the wind or people can carry it." Reads an alarming study authored in part by Duke University's Edmond Byrnes: "The continued expansion of C. gatti in the United States is ongoing, and the diversity of hosts increasing."

Several researchers in California also note that the Cryptococcus gatti fungus has been researched for decades, extending back to the 1950's, at the US Army's biological warfare center, Fort Detrick, in Frederick, Maryland. One microbiologist at the University of California at Los Angeles recounted that the fungus was first brought to the attention of Fort Detrick researchers by British scientists experimenting with the bark of eucalyptus trees from Australia. Army biological warfare reports obtained through the Freedom of Information Act reveal that beginning around 1952 the Army mounted a huge research program involving numerous plant and fungi products, and that well over 300 long-term contracts and sub-contracts were let with over 35 US colleges and universities to carry out this multifaceted research. Examples of this early research in California included experiments and projects at Camp Cooke; Port Huemene; Harpers Lake; Oceanside, and extensive experimentation with wheat stem rust and "various spores" including "several from tropical locations" and cereal rust spores and dyed Lycopodium spores. Several Army reports reveal that private-sector corporations that participated or assisted in these projects were the American Institute of Crop Ecology; the American Type Culture Collection Inc.; University of California; Bioferm Inc. and the Kulijian Corporation.

The same microbiologist, who declined to speak on the record and who recounted extensive fungus work at Fort Detrick, also stated that researchers at Israel's Institute for Biological Research, located in Ness-Ziona about 20 km from Tel Aviv, have worked with the Cryptococcus gatti fungus. They also report that mysterious Israeli-American scientist Joseph Moshe, 56 years old, may have conducted covert studies with the fungus while he was recently living in California. This report concerning Moshe is especially interesting because Moshe was briefly in the international spotlight in 2009 when he was the subject of a spectacular chase and arrest by the LA police department and SWAT team, assisted by the FBI, Secret Service, CIA, US Army and several other unidentified federal officials. That highly unusual arrest has never been fully explained to the media, and the whereabouts of Moshe has remained unknown since its occurrence. Compounding the mystery surrounding the Moshe case is that there is another scientist named Moshe Bar-Joseph who works in Israel and who looks remarkably like Joseph Moshe, except that he is about 20 years older.

Why Moshe was pursued and apprehended by the police is a largely unanswered question. According to the Los Angeles media, which recorded the entire incident by helicopter and ground cameras, Moshe claimed to be "a former Mossad microbiologist" who had telephoned a police dispatch number before his pursuit and had made "threatening statements about the White House and the president." Reportedly, Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan confirmed this when he spoke with several Los Angeles reporters.

On August 14, 2009, several Los Angeles police cruisers and an unmarked armored vehicle pursued Joseph Moshe as he drove his red VW automobile several miles through downtown Los Angeles before his car's engine was reportedly knocked out by an electromagnetic pulse. Moshe refused to exit his car when ordered several times by the police, and after the driver's window of his VW was smashed out by a robotic arm and several rounds of tear gas and pepper gas were fired into the vehicle, he still remained behind the wheel, refusing to move. At the time, police officers on the scene were stunned that Moshe was able to withstand three tear gas shells and hosing with pepper spray without moving. Later that day, a Los Angeles law enforcement official said: "I can't explain that; there's no way to explain that."

After his apprehension, Moshe was taken to the Patton State Mental Hospital and then to the Twin Towers Correctional Facility in Los Angeles. Sometime about 60 days later, Moshe was quietly released and his current whereabouts are unknown. Since his arrest became public, reports about Moshe's activities in the US have spread like wildfire, especially across the Internet. Many of these reports are unconfirmed, but a few come from credible sources and have linked Moshe to the grossly underreported outbreak of flu in the Ukraine.

Other reliable sources, including two former Fort Detrick biochemists, have also linked Moshe to a mysterious disease that is becoming alarmingly common in Vermont and other states, including California. The disease is known to have killed or incapacitated at least 10 to 20 rural dwellers and farmers. This disease is said to be Morgellons disease or "a rare, mutated form of Morgellons disease." Former Fort Detrick scientists, speaking off the record, say that the disease is one that was "experimented with intensely" in the late 1960's at several "test sites in New England." Morgellons causes patients to suffer horrible skin problems as well as fatigue, confusion and serious memory problems, as well as joint pain and the strange sensation that pins and needles are piercing the body or that something is crawling beneath one's flesh. Some researchers and physicians believe that Morgellons is actually a psychiatric condition called "delusional parasitosis." Other physicians, who are familiar with treating the disease, say it may be caused by "an airborne, unidentified spore" and that it was developed in the laboratory from an affliction that was first identified in the 1700's. Regardless of its origin, some researchers say that Morgellons is becoming "a very real medical problem in some parts of the country."

H.P. Albarelli Jr. is the author of "A TERRIBLE MISTAKE: The Murder of Frank Olson and the CIA's Secret Cold War Experiments" [TrineDay Publishers, 2010]. Portions of Albarelli's book provide great detail about top-secret research conducted at the Army's Fort Detrick.
http://digg.com/world_news/Mystery_Disease_Linked_to_Missing_Israeli_Scientist
http://www.truthout.org/mystery-disease-linked-missing-israeli-scientist59169
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05-09-2010, 11:48 AM,
#8
RE: 6 Already Dead And Deadly Fungus Spreading In US, Canada
Compounding the mystery surrounding the Moshe case is that there is another scientist named Moshe Bar-Joseph who works in Israel and who looks remarkably like Joseph Moshe, except that he is about 20 years older.

At the time, police officers on the scene were stunned that Moshe was able to withstand three tear gas shells and hosing with pepper spray without moving. Later that day, a Los Angeles law enforcement official said: "I can't explain that; there's no way to explain that."


odd
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05-10-2010, 02:06 AM, (This post was last modified: 05-10-2010, 02:20 AM by h3rm35.)
#9
RE: 6 Already Dead And Deadly Fungus Spreading In US, Canada
yeah it is odd...
When I first read about this, I thought immediately of one of my worst fears in the medical world,Morgellons, which is probably where my idea about GM crops came in... god, that's some creepy stuff. I think it's much more likely that this and Morgellons have been intentionally engineered for weaponization, and was either accidentally or intentionally set free - if this lunatic scientist really has anything to do with it, and isn't being set up as a patsy, I'd put money on intentional release.
[Image: conspiracy_theory.jpg]
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05-10-2010, 03:54 AM,
#10
RE: 6 Already Dead And Deadly Fungus Spreading In US, Canada
Here is a quick review of the Moshe story that broke late last year for those who need to (re)visit it:


Joseph Moshe arrested for predicting Baxter bioweapon outbreak mutated H1N1 flu in Ukraine! (1 of 2)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A66kx0KYFCA

Joseph Moshe arrested for predicting Baxter bioweapon outbreak mutated H1N1 flu in Ukraine! (2 of 2)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yD4udVehY24

Some links for sources and followup research credit youtube/drutter:

Dr. A. True Ott is an activist, constitutionalist, and opponent to swine flu vaccination.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2RtFIIeoI7I

"Dr. Deagle show" where A. True Ott discusses his phone call from Moshe.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KwDUIjtz6e0

Raw news footage of the capture.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d5F_Hr5_rJs

ABC news report claiming Moshe was mentally ill and threatening to blow up the White House.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B1Bx6itpiBA

Moshe Bar Joseph's profile on the Israeli Ministry of Agriculture website. Says he retired in 2004 from their team. Lists some of his publications, mostly on citrus plant virii, as recently as last year.
http://www.agri.gov.il/en/people/856.aspx

Another Moshe profile.
http://www.biomedexperts.com/Profile.bme/78637/Moshe_Bar-Joseph

Facebook group dedicated to finding Moshe.
http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#/group.php?gid=182952113488

The BioPen is brand new technology. This tiny device is given a sample of blood and can detect many bacterial or viral contaminations. Could be used by medical personnel, soldiers, or anyone who doesn't have access to a lab and needs to know if they or others have been infected. The BioPen was developed by Ben Gurion University in Israel. Coincidentally (or not?), Moshe worked in the same department at the same university up until 2004, when he came to California.
http://www.thefutureofthings.com/articles.php?itemId=37/56/
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07-08-2010, 01:20 AM,
#11
RE: 6 Already Dead And Deadly Fungus Spreading In US, Canada
Quote:Deadly airborne fungus in Oregon set to spread
The new, rare strain has killed 1 in 4 infected, researchers say

by Charles Q. Choi
updated 4/22/2010 6:12:09 PM ET

A deadly, airborne new strain of fungus has emerged in Oregon. It has killed nearly one out of four known affected people so far and might also attack animals ranging from dogs to dolphins. And it is likely to spread, researchers now warn.

The new strain known as VGIIc of the fungus Cryptococcus gattii not only targets humans but has also proven capable of infecting dogs, cats, alpacas, sheep and elk. Other strains have even infected porpoises.

Although it can spread to mammals, it does not jump from animal to animal. Instead, people and other animals get it from inhaling spores released by samples of the fungus that infect trees.

"It's in the environment, and we're exposed to the environment," researcher Edmond Byrnes III of Duke University Medical Center told LiveScience. "And the environmental range of this has been expanding."

Potential to spread

While scientists aren't sure how the highly infectious or virulent fungus emerged in Oregon, they caution the new strain now looks set to expand to California and other neighboring areas.

"This novel fungus is worrisome because it appears to be a threat to otherwise healthy people," Byrnes said. "Typically, we more often see this fungal disease associated with transplant recipients and HIV-infected patients, but that is not what we are seeing yet."

Symptoms can appear two or more months after exposure. Most people never develop symptoms, but those infected may have a cough lasting weeks, sharp chest pain, shortness of breath, headache related to meningitis, fever, nighttime sweats and weight loss. In animals the symptoms are a runny nose, breathing problems, nervous system problems and raised bumps under the skin.

Treatment requires months to years of antifungal medications, and even surgery to remove the large masses of the fungus known as cryptococcomas that can develop in the body. So far it cannot be prevented, as there is no vaccine.

Origin unknown

The fungus C. gattii was originally linked with eucalyptus trees in tropical and subtropical climates. It first caused an outbreak in temperate climes on Vancouver Island in 1999 that has now spread into Washington and Oregon, where it infects local trees. This earlier strain, VGIIa/major, has killed nearly 9 percent of 218 patients.

After comparing the genes of the new VGIIc strain from Oregon with others, researchers suggest the new strain most likely arose recently, parallel to the outbreak that began on Vancouver Island. So far it has killed five out of 21 patients analyzed in the United States, a nearly 25 percent mortality rate. Lab studies with immune cells and with live mice revealed it is extremely virulent — that is, it can cause severe disease.

Determining the exact origin of the VGIIc strain has proven difficult. Investigations so far have failed to find it in Oregon soil, water or trees. It may have arrived from abroad or originated locally, researchers said.

Because this fungus had been confined to the tropics until now, researcher Wenjun Li at Duke University speculated that environmental changes might be responsible for the evolution and emergence of these new strains.

"We are trying to put together the evolutionary story of where these types come from by closely studying the genetics of all samples possible," explained researcher Yonathan Lewit at Duke University Medical Center.

It remains uncertain why VGIIc and VGIIa/major are more virulent than other strains. One possibility, given how this fungus can reproduce sexually, new hypervirulent combinations of genes emerged due to sex. The researchers also noted that cell components known as mitochondria in these strains could adopt a distinctive tube shape. Since mitochondria help generate energy in cells, it is possible these strains are more energetic, "but that's just speculation right now," Byrnes said.

When it comes to a public response to outbreaks of these strains, "public health officials in that area have formed a working group with state epidemiologists from all those states in the Pacific Northwest," Byrnes noted. "It's important that public awareness expand on this."

The scientists detailed their findings online April 22 in the journal PLoS Pathogens.

Embed not working but there is a video available at the linked article.
Researchers at Duke University Medical Center release laboratory photos of a potentially fatal airborne fungus that has been spreading in Oregon. TODAYshow.com's Dara Brown reports.

© 2010 LiveScience.com. All rights reserved.
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/36722426/ns/health-infectious_diseases.

Quote:[Image: Gattii-basidia-100422-02.jpg]
Electron microscopy images of spores of the deadly new VGIIc strain of the fungus Cryptococcus gattii. Credit: Edmond Byrnes III, Joseph Heitman, Duke Dept. of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology
http://www.livescience.com/php/multimedia/imagedisplay/img_display.php?s=health&c=news&l=on&pic=Gattii-basidia-100422-02.jpg&cap=Electron+microscopy+images+of+spores+of+the+deadly+new+VGIIc++strain+of+the+fungus+Cryptococcus+gattii.+Credit:+Edmond+Byrnes+III,+Joseph+Heitman,+Duke+Dept.+of+Molecular+Genetics+and+Microbiology&title=

Haven't heard anything more on this lately. Maybe just fear propaganda that didn't catch on or a test case or maybe a media blackout. Let me know if you find anything else. Nothing on that Ukraine flu either.
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07-08-2010, 05:01 AM,
#12
RE: 6 Already Dead And Deadly Fungus Spreading In US, Canada
I'm think Chemtrails here. I'm also thinking I fit the categories of the ones screwed, lol. Thanks for the heads up on this. Shit, the way this last 5 years have went I need to just dig a hole and lay down in it, lol. Dodgy
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07-08-2010, 08:49 PM, (This post was last modified: 07-08-2010, 08:50 PM by ---.)
#13
RE: 6 Already Dead And Deadly Fungus Spreading In US, Canada
(07-08-2010, 05:01 AM)hilly7 Wrote: I'm think Chemtrails here. I'm also thinking I fit the categories of the ones screwed, lol. Thanks for the heads up on this. Shit, the way this last 5 years have went I need to just dig a hole and lay down in it, lol. Dodgy

Hilly, the only hole in the ground I can see you in right now is the trenches, with the rest of us. Respectfully, quit maudling and get that bong lit, you've got some kick in you yet, old son Wink
Reply
07-09-2010, 04:45 AM,
#14
RE: 6 Already Dead And Deadly Fungus Spreading In US, Canada
If I'm here, you can count on it.
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11-23-2010, 09:54 AM,
#15
RE: 6 Already Dead And Deadly Fungus Spreading In US, Canada
More on Cryptococcus gattii and its cousin .. very interesting. Not sure how it fits exactly but they are hinting at sterilizing the fungus as a protection against it from infecting humans.

Quote:Tiny molecules protect from the dangers of sex
November 15, 2010

Pathogenic fungi have been found to protect themselves against unwanted genetic mutations during sexual reproduction, according to researchers at Duke University Medical Center. A gene-silencing pathway protects the fungal genome from mutations imposed by a partner during mating.

This pathway was discovered in Cryptococcus neoformans, a fungus that commonly infects humans, causing over one million cases of lung and brain infection each year, and more than 600,000 deaths. A related species, Cryptococcus gattii, is causing an expanding outbreak in the Pacific Northwest that is of considerable public health impact and concern.

"This discovery of how the genome is protected during sex might be leveraged as an Achilles' heel in the battle against C. neoformans, which frequently causes life-threatening illness in people," said senior author Joseph Heitman, M.D., Ph.D., chair of the Duke Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology. "This protective silencing effect also operates in some animals, and our studies demonstrate that the pathway operates to defend the genome during sexual reproduction."

Sexual reproduction in fungi produces airborne spores that are readily inhaled into the lungs and thought to be the source of human infections. Thus, agents that block fungal sex might stop the risk of infection at the source.

This work was published in the Nov. 15 issue of the journal Genes & Development.

C. neoformans uses a novel sex-induced RNAi (RNA interference) genome defense system that protects by effectively "silencing" the DNA, so that it is not vulnerable to repeated genes and transposable elements that could cause mutations.

The silencing system protects the genome from changes that might be imposed by transposable elements of DNA, called "jumping genes," that are also more active during the sexual cycle, said Xuying Wang, Ph.D., a postdoctoral associate who works in the Heitman lab.

Through deep sequencing of the small RNAi pieces which mediate the silencing in C. neoformans, the team also identified abundant small RNAs which map to repetitive transposable elements that could cause mutations if not silenced.

These small RNAs were absent in mutant strains (rdp1) that were studied. One group of transposable elements was greatly expressed during mating of rdp1 mutant strains and these fungi showed an increased transposition and mutation rate in the next generation, leading the researchers to conclude that the RNAi pathway squelches transposon activity during the sexual cycle.

Provided by Duke University Medical Center
http://www.physorg.com/partners/duke-university-medical-center/
http://www.physorg.com/news/2010-11-tiny-molecules-dangers-sex.html
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