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Author Topic: Bioterrorism with fleas
snopes
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Comment: I heard a rumor back in the mid 1990's of a woman who was caught
at the US-Canadian border (Washington state, maybe?) with a small box full
of fleas carrying bubonic plague. "Somebody" read about it in "the paper."
Sorry I can't be more specific. Couldn't find anything on your site like
it... ever heard of it?

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Bozone
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I haven't heard this story, but there are allready fleas with the plague in the states. I read not too long ago about a few cases of plague in rodents in Wyoming. I don't think this is too uncommon. I doubt anyone would choose this as a bioterrorism method. Isn't the plague curable with current medicine?
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Jay Tea
The "Was on Sale" Song


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Wikipedia

quote:
The disease still exists in wild animal populations from the Caucasus Mountains east across southern and central Russia, to Kazakhstan, Mongolia, and parts of China; in Southwest and Southeast Asia, Southern and East Africa (including the island of Madagascar); in North America, from the Pacific Coast eastward to the western Great Plains, and from British Columbia south to Mexico; and in South America in two areas: the Andes mountains and Brazil. There is no plague-infected animal population in Europe or Australia.

Globally, the World Health Organization reports 1,000 to 3,000 human cases of plague every year.

In order for a epidemic or pandemic pre-conditions would have to resemble those of Europe 500 years ago - a few fleas are not going to cause a massive problem - better off with a strain of bird-flu or something...

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Senior
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During World War II, the notorious Japanese "Detachment 731" tried to develop a biological weapon, a bomb carrying bubonic plague infested fleas.

The plague bomb never really worked. The first field experiments were conducted in China in 1940, but few plague deaths were noted. In 1942, plague bombs were dropped to halt the advance of Chinese troops, again with no particular impact on the supposed victims. These failures may have been due to the facts that bubonic plague was difficult to spread and that there were plenty of other diseases endemic to China. Moreover, the fleas could not survive long without a host (usually rodents). Even attempts to spread the plague by releasing flea-infested rats had no noticeable effect.

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Delta-V
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quote:
Originally posted by Bozone:
I haven't heard this story, but there are allready fleas with the plague in the states. I read not too long ago about a few cases of plague in rodents in Wyoming. I don't think this is too uncommon. I doubt anyone would choose this as a bioterrorism method. Isn't the plague curable with current medicine?

Plague in rodents is pretty common in the American Southwest, with around 13 cases annually cases, mostly in northern New Mexico and eastern Arizona, according to the CDC's website. When I lived in Colorado, we were warned not to let the dog chase prairie dogs since they often carried the plague.

Plague is bacteriological, not viral, so responds to antibiotics if it's diagnosed soon enough. Unfortunately, it's rare enough to be mis-diagnosed, and about 14% of cases are fatal (again, from CDC's website).

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"My neighbor asked why anyone would need a car that can go 190 mph. If the answer isn't obvious, and explaination won't help." - Csabe Csere

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heavyhand
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quote:
Originally posted by Peter H:
During World War II, the notorious Japanese "Detachment 731" tried to develop a biological weapon, a bomb carrying bubonic plague infested fleas.

The plague bomb never really worked. The first field experiments were conducted in China in 1940, but few plague deaths were noted. In 1942, plague bombs were dropped to halt the advance of Chinese troops, again with no particular impact on the supposed victims. These failures may have been due to the facts that bubonic plague was difficult to spread and that there were plenty of other diseases endemic to China. Moreover, the fleas could not survive long without a host (usually rodents). Even attempts to spread the plague by releasing flea-infested rats had no noticeable effect.

I was about to type this same thing....glad i read the thread.....

hows groton doing? cant believe theyre thinking of closing the base there.

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timbobmc
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Don't you guys know that bubonic plague is endemic in the Four Corners area? Seriously, if one visits the Southwest US, special care should be taken if the peroson gets any flea bites.

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Troodon
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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Mr. Burns: Give him the plague!
Smithers: Err, thats the plaque.

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