Manhattan, Kansas is in the news due to a mysterious illness sweeping through schools and making hundreds of children ill. Natural Blaze reports:
Symptoms include the necessity to go home due to stomach issues like nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. At first, officials thought it was norovirus (highly contagious stomach flu). Indeed, the media reports and officials were certain it was norovirus and a major outbreak had practically downed a Nevada school last year. However, as the sickness continues, this idea has been abandoned even though it spreads in a similar manner.
Additionally, some of the symptoms are not consistent among all the students. For instance, the middle and elementary students began contracting the sickness, but unlike the high schoolers, they are reporting fever as well. Last Friday, the high school principal issued a desperate plea for the sick students to provide stool samples to the health department.
As sorry as I feel for the children involved, this type of mystery illness is nothing to what may be waiting for them in the future due to the last reason that Manhattan, Kansas made headlines.
Although it isn’t due to be fully operational by 2023, this same town is the controversial new site for the Bio-Safety Level 4 research facility that was formerly stationed off the US Mainland to keep an incident that reads like something from Stephen King’s book, The Stand, from happening.
I’ve written frequently about the many reasons to be prepared for the potential of a pandemic outbreak. This is a doozy of a reason.
What could possibly go wrong?
A few years ago, the Department of Homeland Security decided that the best thing they could do with the Plum Island Research Facility was to move it from its relatively isolated location, off the tip of Long Island, New York, to Manhattan Kansas. Because it wasn’t bad enough to deliberately mess around with deadly germs and viruses off the shores of the mainland.
In late May of 2015, ground was broken for the new National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility:
“The new facility will focus biosafety level 3 agriculture (BSL-3Ag) research on dangerous livestock diseases such as African swine fever and foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) and will focus its BSL-4 research on such deadly pathogens as the Hendra and Nipah viruses, which are zoonotic pathogens that can be transmitted from animals to humans and for which no treatment is available.”
But don’t worry about this being moved to the heartland of our agricultural industry. The US Government Accountability Office conducted a study in 2008. It’s cool and no one will be at risk putting this in the middle of the freaking country instead of contained on an island.
Here is the opening of that study:
DHS is proposing to move foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) research from its current location at the Plum Island Animal Disease Center–located on a federally owned island off the northern tip of Long Island, New York–and potentially onto the United States mainland. FMD is the most highly infectious animal disease that is known. Nearly 100 percent of exposed animals become infected.
GAO found that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)has neither conducted nor commissioned any study to determine whether work on foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) can be done safely on the U.S. mainland.
…Therefore, GAO believes DHS does not have evidence to conclude that FMD work can be done safely on the U.S. mainland. While location, in general, confers no advantage in preventing a release, location can help prevent the spread of pathogens and, thus, a resulting disease outbreak if there is a release. Given that there is always some risk of a release from any biocontainment facility, most experts GAO spoke with said that an island location can provide additional protection.
Now, as unpleasant as an outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease would be, that is not the worst thing the Manhattan, Kansas facility will deal with. Not by a long shot.
Some of the things that will be studied in Manhattan, Kansas have no cure.
Nipah virus, along with Hendra virus, comprises a new genus designated Henipavirus in the subfamily Paramyxovirinae.
These are zoonotic diseases that can be passed from animals to humans. There is no cure for them. These deadly pathogens are BSL-4 (Bio-Safety Level 4, the highest bio-containment level) diseases.
Despite knowing that BSL-4 research would be conducted the lab was still moved from its position of relative isolation to a university town with over 56,000 inhabitants. Topeka, with more than 120,000 citizens is just 56 miles away.
In addition to the threat to the food supply should something like Foot and Mouth Disease escape from the lab, the risk to the inhabitants of Manhattan should one of these deadly pathogens escape is incredibly high. The primary host of Nipah virus in the United States would be pigs.
According to the USDA, there were almost 2 million hogs in Kansas as of March this year. What could possibly go wrong?
Humans can contract Nipah from infected pigs. If they do, encephalitis develops and supportive care is given until recovery or death occurs. That’s it. There’s nothing else you can do. Human-to-human transmission has been reported in every outbreak. The CDC has a full overview of Nipah virus.
But don’t worry. It’s unrelated. This time.
Of course, as I mentioned above, the new facility isn’t “fully operational” yet. I’ve checked every source I can find, and there’s no information about any experiments being done. Apparently, things are under construction and will be for several more years.
The proximity of the mystery illness and the location of the new lab are just a giant coincidence. But it could be a terrible precognizant glimpse of what is to come.
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