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Is Bird Flu Killing All Those Whales?

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posted on Feb, 20 2006 @ 09:42 AM
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We're seeing yet another round of mysterious whale deaths. Supposedly, these deaths cannot be explained.



Mexican authorities are investigating the mysterious deaths of eight whales found washed ashore along the Sea of Cortez last month, an unusually large number that suggests someone or something is killing them off.

The whales come from several plankton-eating species and apparently died at sea in November and December, biologists said. But they do not show any signs of having been caught in long-line fishing nets, which sometimes suffocate the mammoth animals. Nor have biologists found any signs of a toxic spill or outbreak of disease that would account for their deaths.

"Right now it's a mystery," said Luis Fueyo, an assistant federal prosecutor for environmental crimes, who is overseeing the investigation. "We have a puzzle." ...The investigators also looked for signs of disease or poisons, both natural and synthetic. It was slow going. All of the bodies were badly decomposed. Only the baby gray whale provided enough tissue to test for diseases or poisons. ...On Friday, environmental officials announced that those tests had found no evidence of a toxic algae bloom, other poisons or infections. Nor have the investigations turned up signs of mistreatment by fishermen.

What's Killing All Those Whales?



However, H5N1 bird flu is a Type A virus, which can infect whales.

As stated in the February 2004 WHO Report on H5N1: "Several studies have shown that a small number of mammalian species, including pigs, seals, whales, mink, and ferrets, are susceptible to natural infection with influenza viruses that are purely avian in their genetic make-up." The Mayo Clinic reports, "type A influenza infects both people and animals, including birds, pigs, horses, whales and seals."

Also see: "Bird Flu: Why Worry Now?"


Viruses can be "vehicles of prion transmission."



Prion diseases are unique in that they can be inherited, they can occur sporadically, and they can be infectious. The infectious agent in the prion disease is composed mainly or entirely of an abnormal conformation of a host-encoded glycoprotein called the prion protein.

The transmission of this disease (scrapie) was demonstrated first in 1943 when a population of Scottish sheep was accidentally inoculated against a common virus using a formalin extract of lymphoid tissue from an animal with scrapie (Gordon, 1946). Accidental transmission of prions is a recurrent event in the history of these agents and is related to their unusual biophysical properties.

Prion Related Diseases

***

This 1986 paper describes how "proteinaceous capsids" (prions) use viruses as vehicles of transmission...
* "Viral influences on aflatoxin formation by Aspergillus flavus." Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 24:248-252. Schmidt FR, Lemke PA, Esser K (1986)

"Epidemiological observations indicate that a microbial vector is responsible for the transmission of natural prion disease in sheep and goats … ...It is proposed that many microbial proteins may be capable of replicating themselves in mammalian cells eliciting and sustaining thereby degenerative and/or autoimmune reactions subsequent to infections with microorganisms."
* Is the pathogen of prion disease a microbial protein? Med Hypotheses. 1999 Aug;53(2):91-102. Fuzi M. Budapest Institute of National Public Health and Medical Officer Service, Hungary. PMID: 10532698

* Dangerous liaisons between a microbe and the prion protein. J Exp Med. 2003 Jul 7;198(1):1-4. Aguzzi A, Hardt WD. PMID: 12847133




Especially important, H5N1 bird flu carries a misfolded protein called "a-smooth muscle actin" (ASMA). ASMA creates abnormal myofibroblasts, which in turn cause "abnormal wound healing" and "tissue remodeling" in connective tissue and smooth muscle. The lungs, fat cells and digestive tract are especially vulnerable.

If, as the evidence suggests, the main culprit in H5N1 bird flu is not the virus itself, but rather a prion hitchhiker - then a vaccine would simply spread the disease.

In my opinion, the public has a right to be fully informed - and a right to be given the real information. And I have questions:

Is H5N1 "bird flu" spreading through the planet's animal kingdom? Is it partly responsible for the current rates of extinction?

Is H5N1 "bird flu" - and its prion hitchhiker - already responsible for the world's chronic disease epidemic in humans?

What is the real hold up on getting a human vaccine for H5N1 bird flu?






Also see:

The H5N1 avian influenza virus can survive for more than a month in bird droppings in cold weather and for nearly a week even in hot summer temperatures, the World Health Organization said on Friday.

Rats, flies likely to spread avian influenza



Animal prion infections, such as scrapie (sheep) and "mad cow disease" (cattle), have shown a pattern of horizontal transmission in farm conditions and several ectoparasites have been shown to harbor prion rods in laboratory experiments. Fly larvae and mites were exposed to brain-infected material and were readily able to transmit scrapie to hamsters. New lines of evidence have confirmed that adult flies are also able to express prion proteins. ...Several cell types found on the human skin, including keratinocytes, fibroblasts and lymphocytes, are susceptible to the abnormal infective isoform of the prion protein, which transforms the skin to produce a potential target for prion infection.

Could ectoparasites act as vectors for prion diseases? Int J Dermatol. 2003 Jun;42(6):425-9. Lupi O. Center for Vaccine Development, University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, Galveston, TX, USA. PMID: 12786866



Prion transmission in blood and urine



[edit on 20-2-2006 by soficrow]




posted on Feb, 24 2006 @ 04:33 PM
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Very interesting Soficrow, I had no idea bird flu could be a possibilty for the mysterious mexican whale deaths. Thanks for an informative post btw.



posted on Feb, 24 2006 @ 08:10 PM
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Thanks worldwatcher.

The prion thing can seem old - BUT - actin proteins are keys that can "unlock" any cell door, and let diseases cross species barriers pretty much at will.

IMO - it's the ASM-Actin that allows Type A influenza to cross species barriers without having to develop new genetic material.



posted on Feb, 26 2006 @ 04:02 AM
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guess there ends my fish eating orgy which i thought was safe



posted on Feb, 26 2006 @ 04:32 AM
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Very interesting and informative, soficrow.

Something to look further into. Well researched, too



posted on Feb, 26 2006 @ 05:31 AM
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Bird flu hasn't even reached mexico yet. There are millions of other diseases to blame, just because H5N1 hits the media because it has mutated into a type that can infect humans doesn't mean it's the reason for every single death on the earth.



posted on Feb, 26 2006 @ 05:48 AM
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Bird flu hasn't even reached mexico yet. There are millions of other diseases to blame, just because H5N1 hits the media because it has mutated into a type that can infect humans doesn't mean it's the reason for every single death on the earth.



posted on Feb, 26 2006 @ 06:26 AM
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Originally posted by arc_mar
guess there ends my fish eating orgy which i thought was safe


Whales aren't fish. But that brings a question to mind -- can the disease spread to fish as well?



posted on Feb, 27 2006 @ 10:47 PM
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Originally posted by MrPringles

Bird flu hasn't even reached mexico yet.





...H5N1 bird flu first was identified in Scotland in 1959.

...H5N1 bird flu infects birds and whales.

...Birds and whales migrate.

...Looks like H5N1 has been circulating round the world and crossing back and forth between species for about 47 years now.

Molecular diagnostics for flu are not routine anywhere in the world, so no one has been testing for H5N1 bird flu - and certainly not undeveloped nations like Mexico.



So I'm wondering how you can possibly say bird flu hasn't reached Mexico? Like, do you have an omnipotent and unimpeachable alien source? That has, like, a white light bubble of protection over Mexico to keep it ecologically isolated from the rest of the planet?


.



posted on Mar, 3 2006 @ 09:20 AM
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Personally, I would be more inclined to think the mysterious deaths would be from lack of food. The current whale population is really high right now, exceeding what the environment can produce for them in the terms of food. You add that to the hurricanes messing with their environment and I think starvation would be the reason. But, that's just my opinion.



posted on Mar, 3 2006 @ 01:51 PM
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Originally posted by zenlover28

The current whale population is really high right now,




Do you have any sources for that statement? Most of the press highlights endangerment and looming extinctions.

Your comments about lack of food are relevant though - the oceans' biochemistry has changed enough that food is scarce. Not sure how it affects whales' food supplies though, or which (if any) specific species.

.



posted on Mar, 3 2006 @ 02:35 PM
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Soficrow as far as I know the gray whale was taken off of the mass extinction list in 1994. You are welcome to do research on this subject yourself and find links. But, here is one that I can provide.

www.whaletimes.org...



posted on Mar, 3 2006 @ 02:43 PM
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By the way, I also want to make the comment that whales need a tremendous amount of food to make it through migration because they rarely eat during the migration, if it isn't there it would certainly affect them and any other species.

[edit on 3-3-2006 by zenlover28]



posted on Mar, 3 2006 @ 03:19 PM
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Zenlover - these whale deaths are unusual - there is no doubt about it. Moreover, these and other whale deaths have NOT been explained.

I have reviewed some of the published reports: degenerated connective tissue and the presence of myofibroblasts are consistent with H5N1 bird flu pathology.

FYI - The 8 whale deaths included 3 humpbacks, a minke whale, a fin whale and a baby gray whale - and the other 2 carcasses were not identifiable except as whales.

Also FYI-

The Humpback Whale is an endangered species

Gray whales have come back from the verge of extinction but still are a protected species.



posted on Mar, 3 2006 @ 06:41 PM
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Bird flu killed the dinosaurs... we had better be carful.

Well thats my 2 cents.



posted on Mar, 4 2006 @ 06:26 AM
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Originally posted by byhiniur
Bird flu killed the dinosaurs... we had better be carful.

Well thats my 2 cents.



I want a refund.


...It's not a firvolous suggestion - as said earlier: the degenerated connective tissue and the presence of myofibroblasts found in many dead whales are consistent with H5N1 bird flu pathology.

And researchers are saying the have "no explanation" for the deaths.....



posted on Mar, 6 2006 @ 11:09 AM
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Sofi anything is possible. I was just giving my theory on what I believe may have caused the deaths. I did however think they were all gray whales, don't know why I interpreted that way. But, anyway my theory has not changed. I still believe that their deaths were due to starvation due to higher gray whale numbers needing more food and consuming more of all of the other whale species food and the imbalance of their environment. And the gray whale population IS higher now than it was back before they were even hunted. They are still protected yes, but only so they don't get back on the edge of extinction because of hunters. Anyhow like I said, I was only giving my theory.



posted on Mar, 6 2006 @ 02:54 PM
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Many autopsies of dead whales show that the cause of death is associated with a problems with the whales' natural SONAR.

It has been shown that some marine mammals can detect sounds natural sounds from other populations of marine mammals nearly across the length of the ocean. Today, with Naval sonar being developed at even more sensitive levels, they are sending more noise into the ocean than ever before.
Some of these sounds can reach dB levels of well over 200dB. Essentially this causes a deafness to the whale who can no longer navigate properly and they beach themselves. At lound enough levels it can also cause brain damage to the auditory section of the brain, cause internal bleeding and eventually death.

Also a source of oceanographic noise pollution is oil drilling from water-bounde rigs. Especially the rigs that drill horizontally into the ocean shelf.



posted on Mar, 6 2006 @ 04:39 PM
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Originally posted by carlwfbird
Many autopsies of dead whales show that the cause of death is associated with a problems with the whales' natural SONAR.

...some marine mammals can detect sounds natural sounds from other populations of marine mammals nearly across the length of the ocean. Today, with Naval sonar being developed at even more sensitive levels, they are sending more noise into the ocean than ever before.
Some of these sounds can reach dB levels of well over 200dB. Essentially this causes a deafness to the whale who can no longer navigate properly and they beach themselves. At lound enough levels it can also cause brain damage to the auditory section of the brain, cause internal bleeding and eventually death.

Also a source of oceanographic noise pollution is oil drilling from water-bounde rigs. Especially the rigs that drill horizontally into the ocean shelf.





Good info - yes, sonar pollution is a BIG problem and causes whale beachings.

I am talking about whale deaths at sea though - and carcasses that show deteriorated connective tissue - often called "blobs" in news reports.

The bird flu connection is not frivolous - the pathology is similar - Type A flus like H5N1 infect a variety of animals including whales - and H5N1 can be spread through water.


H5N1 infected birds don't use bathrooms, they evacuate directly into the oceans - where the virus can live for 4 or 5 days. ...So this one's a no-brainer.





posted on Mar, 7 2006 @ 08:14 AM
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I'm confused Sofi; the article states that the bodies were badly decomposed. You are saying that it talks about "blobs" and deteriorated connective tissue. From the way I read it their entire bodies were badly decomposed. And no it isn't a no brainer.



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