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Outbreak of rare disease in the Netherlands

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posted on Apr, 19 2010 @ 12:48 AM
The Netherlands is grappling with an outbreak of a rare disease. It normally strikes farm animals, but it’s now sickening hundreds of people who have no contact with farms. While most people get something like the flu or pneumonia for a few weeks, some are sick for months, and a handful have died. The disease is caused by a type of bacteria so resilient that the U.S. government considers it a bioterrorism agent. From the Netherlands, Emily Kopp reports. (images courtesy of VJ Movement)
Truck driver Frank van Lent lives in a small town an hour southeast of Amsterdam. He used to play tennis and jog, but now a short stroll through his neighborhood is all he has energy for. His trouble began ten months ago.

Frank Van Lent and his partner Ans Brouwers

He became exhausted, he says. He developed a fever, headaches, muscle aches, heart palpitations. At first, his doctor was stumped. He prescribed antibiotics, but those didn’t help. Two months went by, but van Lent didn’t get better. He went in for more tests. They took some blood, he says, and they came up with a diagnosis: Q-fever. It’s a bacterial infection, transmitted by livestock. Jos van de Sande is an infectious disease expert at the public health department here in the Dutch province of Brabant. He says, usually, only people who work with farm animals are at risk.

“It’s always been an occupational disease of farmers, slaughterhouse personnel, veterinarians.”

But something has changed. Now, many people here who have no connection to farms are coming down with Q-fever, and the number of patients is growing. Three years ago, the Netherlands had fewer than 200 cases. Last year, it had more than 2000. At least nine people have died. It’s not clear why the disease is spreading. Jos van de Sande says the bacteria may have mutated.

”And now Q fever is spread by the wind and the whole population can get it.”

Whatever is causing the disease to spread, officials believe they know where it’s coming from – this country’s growing number of goat farms.
Jeannette van den Ven raises dairy goats on her farm:

“These are the younger stock, and the younger females and males.”

For the goats to make milk, they have to get pregnant. The problem is: the bacteria that cause Q fever thrive in goats’ wombs, and cause goats to miscarry. When the goats abort, the bacteria are released into the air and can infect people. So to stop the disease, the Dutch government has targeted farms, like van den Ven’s.

“They just said pregnant goats give the most risk to contamination. Let’s kill all the pregnant goats, contaminated or not. And that’s, you know, very hard.”

Under government orders, if any goat tests positive for Q fever, all pregnant goats on that farm must be killed. That’s what happened here. The government sent veterinarians to euthanize more than 600 of Van den Ven’s goats. Nationwide, about 45,000 pregnant goats have been killed.
Farmer Jeannette van den Ven

Farmers call these measures draconian and unnecessary. There is an animal vaccine for Q-fever. It was in short supply last year but now there’s now enough for all the goats in the country. It’s not clear, though, if any of these measures will stop the spread of Q fever. Jos Van de Sande of the Brabant public health department says there are simply too many farms squeezed into this crowded country.
He pulls up a map on his computer. It’s dotted with fat pink circles, clumped together like chicken pox. They indicate infected farms.

“You see, Not only humans, but other stables nearby can become infected very easily. The stables are so close together in the Netherlands that the disease can very likely spread from stable to stable.”

One way to protect people from Q fever would be to move farms away from cities, but experts say that’s not practical. Meanwhile, other European countries are watching the situation closely. Recently, the disease spread to a few Belgian farms across the border.

For The World, I’m Emily Kopp, Brabant Province, the Netherlands.

Move over swine flue,it's about time the zombie Apocalypse begins.

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posted on Apr, 19 2010 @ 01:04 AM
reply to post by flyingfish

Very alarming. I hate when I hear about such horrible diseases. Knowing the swine flu was manufactured, it only makes me wonder if, yet again, this is another manufactured virus and these poor people are the experiement. S&F

posted on Apr, 19 2010 @ 01:19 AM
The disease is caused by a type of bacteria so resilient that the U.S. government considers it a bio-terrorism agent."This along with words like "bacterium"can be concerning.Scare tactics?I'm not sure, will keep an eye on the numbers.

posted on Apr, 19 2010 @ 01:24 AM
Of course it is!
The Anglo Saxon Project: They want to deliberately depopulate most of the world before whatever disaster causes them to go underground in their bunkers.

But the US shadow goverenment is in on it, and Baxters too probably!

posted on Apr, 19 2010 @ 02:10 AM
From wiki:

The United States investigated Q fever as a potential biological warfare agent in the 1950s with eventual standardization as agent OU. At Fort Detrick and Dugway Proving Ground human trials were conducted on Whitecoat volunteers to determine the median infective dose (18 MICLD50/person i.h.) and course of infection. As a standardized biological it was manufactured in large quantities at Pine Bluff Arsenal, with 5,098 gallons in the arsenal in bulk at the time of demilitarization in 1970.

Although the bacteria can become airborne, it is transmittable through fleas and lice.

posted on Apr, 19 2010 @ 09:23 AM
Biological Weapons --
Q Fever

Q fever is a disease acquired from animals caused by Coxiella burnetii, a rickettsialike organism of low virulence but remarkable infectivity. A single organism can cause illness. In addition, despite the fact that C burnetii is unable to grow or replicate outside host cells, a sporelike form of the organism is extremely resistant to heat, pressure, and many disinfectants. This allows C burnetii to persist in the environment for long periods under harsh conditions. In contrast to this high degree of inherent resilience and transmissibility, the acute clinical disease associated with Q fever is usually a benign, although temporarily incapacitating, illness in humans.

The potential of C burnetii as a biowarfare agent is related directly to its infectivity. It has been estimated that 110 pounds of dried C burnetii would produce the same number of casualties as similar amounts of anthrax or tularemia organisms.
Symptoms Fever, cough, and pleuritic chest pain may occur as early as ten days after exposure. Patients are not generally critically ill, and the illness lasts from 2 days to 2 weeks.

How does it spread?
Person-to-person transmission is rare.

Humans acquire the disease by inhaling particles contaminated with the organisms. The most common animal carriers are sheep, cattle and goats. Farmers and abattoir workers are at greatest risk occupationally.

Q fever has been transmitted from heavily contaminated unwashed laundry; therefore the laundry must be marked and managed as infectious material. Sputum and urine from patients should be autoclaved before disposal.

Diagnosis Q fever is not a clinically distinct illness and may resemble a viral illness or other types of atypical pneumonia. The diagnosis is confirmed by serum tests.

Tetracycline or doxycycline should be started 8-12 days after exposure and continued for 5 days. This regimen has been shown to prevent clinical disease.

Specifics on treatment can be found here

Decontamination is accomplished with soap and water or a 0.5% chlorine solution on personnel.

An inactivated whole cell unlicensed vaccine is effective in for protection against exposure, but severe local reactions to this vaccine may be seen in those who already possess immunity. Therefore, an intradermal skin test is recommended to detect pre-sensitized or immune individuals.

Even without treatment, most patients recover. The exception is when chronic Q fever infection inflames the heart. Then the mortality rate is 24% even when patients receive appropriate treatment.


USAMRIID's Medical Management of Biological Casualties Handbood; Fourth Edition February 2001; pages 9-10;
Federation of American Scientists;
CBRNE - Biological Warfare Agents;
Virtual Naval Hospital: Treatment of Biological Warfare Agent Casualties;

posted on Apr, 19 2010 @ 09:32 AM
This is alarming news.

(cue to the zombie jokes....)

Lets hope it doesn't spread locally or globally.

posted on Apr, 19 2010 @ 09:35 AM
This article from Canada on a Q-fever outbreak in New Foundland 1999, published in 2001, describes exactly what happened and still happens in the Netherlands. Only difference is: in the Netherlands same thing is happening on a much bigger scale.

Your receipe for a human Q-fever outbreak:

goats+leave the straw and manure in the stable (with billions of bacteria), pile up+spread the manure on the land later+let it dry and let the dust (with bacteria) go with the wind = Q fever at humans.

This happened in New Foundland, this is what happened in the Netherlands.

Goat-Associated Q Fever: A New Disease in Newfoundland

It seems rather early in the season to draw any conclusions, however the first reports don't bring good news. In about 4 to 6 weeks we will know more.

The number of patients with chronic Q-fever is growing

In the Jeroen Bosch Hospital in Den Bosch currently forty patients with
chronic Q-fever receive treatment. Last year at the same date some fifteen patients were treated.

Chronic Q fever occurs in approximately 1 to 3 percent of the patients.

Chronic Q-fever begins with simmering complaints such as chest tightness, fever, sweating, fatigue and loss of weight.

Most people with chronic Q-fever have an inflammation of the heart valves.

Until March 17 in Netherlands this year, 247 human infections with Q fever were reported.

Last year in the same period from jan 1 to march 17 it was 13 .

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