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Rare Brain-Eating Amoebas Killed Seattle Woman Who Used Tap Water

Rare Brain-Eating Amoebas Killed Seattle Woman Who Used Tap Water

Rare brain-eating amoebas killed Seattle woman who rinsed her sinuses with tap water. Doctor warns this could happen again

Researchers said the amoebas likely got into the woman’s brain through the tap water she used to fill a neti pot, rather than using saline or sterile water. The organisms entered her brain after she squirted the water up into her upper nasal cavity.

When a 69-year-old Seattle woman underwent brain surgery earlier this year at Swedish Medical Center, her doctors were stumped.

Last January, the woman was admitted to the hospital’s emergency department after suffering a seizure. Doctors took a CT scan of her brain to determine the cause, finding what they initially thought was a tumor. But an examination of tissue taken from her brain during surgery a day later showed she was up against a much deadlier attack, one that had been underway for about a year and was literally eating her alive.

“When I operated on this lady, a section of her brain about the size of a golf ball was bloody mush,” Dr. Charles Cobbs, neurosurgeon at Swedish, said in a phone interview. “There were these amoeba all over the place just eating brain cells. We didn’t have any clue what was going on, but when we got the actual tissue we could see it was the amoeba.”

The woman died a month later from the rare organisms that entered her brain after being injected into her nasal cavity by way of a neti pot, a teapot-shaped product used to rinse out the sinuses and nasal cavity, according to a case study recently published in the International Journal of Infectious Diseases.

The study was authored by Swedish doctors and researchers who worked on her case, including Cobbs. The publication doesn’t identify the victim.

The woman’s infection is the second ever reported in Seattle — the first came in 2013 — but the first fatality to be caused by it. In 1990, researchers first became aware that this type of amoeba can cause disease in people, according to a study published in Clinical Infectious Diseases in November. That report found there have been 109 cases of the amoeba reported in the U.S. between 1974 and 2016. Ninety percent of those cases were fatal.

 

Amoebas are single-celled organisms, some of which can cause disease. Since they thrive in warm soil and water, some local doctors are growing concerned that the woman’s deadly infection could be among other southern-hemisphere diseases that may become spread northward toward the Pacific Northwest amid warming temperatures. The organisms are commonly found in South America and Central America, but may now have a better chance of survival in other, usually cooler places, such as Washington.

“I think we are going to see a lot more infections that we see south (move) north, as we have a warming of our environment,” said Dr. Cynthia Maree, a Swedish infectious-disease doctor who co-authored the case study about the woman’s condition. “Considering the mortality associated with this infection, my hope was that I was wrong. But my fear was that I was right.”

In the case of the Seattle woman, she likely became infected with the amoebas from her tap water, according to the researchers. Rather than filling her neti pot with saline or sterile water, she used tap water filtered through a store-bought water filter. She then shot the contaminated water far up her nasal cavity toward olfactory nerves in the upper part of her nasal cavity, causing the brain-eating infection called granulomatous amoebic encephalitis (GAE).

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Amoebas may be found in fresh-water sources around Puget Sound such as wells, but aren’t present in city-treated water, according to Liz Coleman, a spokeswoman for the Environmental Public Health division of the state’s Department of Health. The researchers weren’t able to test the woman’s tap water, but people cannot be infected by simply swallowing water contaminated with the amoebas, according to Cobbs.

After contracting the amoebas, the woman developed a red sore on her nose. For about a year, the sore was misdiagnosed and being treated as a common, treatable skin condition known as rosacea, the study said. Cobbs said this was likely the first symptom of the amoeba, but its rarity makes the amoeba difficult to quickly diagnose.

“It’s such an incredibly uncommon disease it was not on anyone’s radar that this initial nose sore would be related to her brain,” Piper said.

The woman’s infection is the first to be linked to improper nasal lavage, according to Piper. Although the risk of infection to the brain is extremely low, people who use neti pots or other nasal-irrigation devices can nearly eliminate it by following directions printed on the devices, including using only saline or sterilized water, Maree said.

Three types of amoebas have been identified as causing fatal brain infections, according to Dr. Jennifer Cope, an epidemiologist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s unit that focuses on foodborne, waterborne and environmental diseases.

While infections remain rare, the Seattle woman died from the least-known of them all: Balamuthia mandrillaris. That’s a type of amoeba that moves more slowly and can take weeks or months to cause death. The other slow-acting amoeba is called Acanthamoeba spp.

Naegleria fowleri is the most documented, Cope said, because it acts quickly, causing an infection that leads to death in just a few days. New Jersey health officials linked a man’s death to N. fowleri in October. He was believed to have gotten infected while surfing in an indoor water park in Texas. N. fowleri is present in Puget Sound waters and other freshwater sources, Maree said. She wasn’t immediately aware of any other local cases of infection.

 

Cope said all three amoeba types have similar rates of prevalence, but Balamuthia mandrillaris is the least-recognized among the medical community because it is rarely documented, providing limited opportunity for research.

It is thought the amoebas are primarily soil-based, but the “exact environmental niche is really unknown”, Cope said in an email.

“From my understanding it’s everywhere. There are molds and fungi that can kill you if it infects your brain. MRSA (a treatable bacterial infection) is everywhere, but we don’t have a mechanism of injecting it into our brain,” Cobbs said. “It’s always going to be an uphill battle because people learn by seeing things over and over again, but I don’t think that there are going to be an increase in cases in the future. At least I hope not.”

Correction: The image of severe hemorrhaging in the woman’s brain is a CT scan. An earlier version of this story had incorrectly referred to the image in its caption as an MRI. This correction was made Dec. 6 at 12:08 p.m.

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11 Common Waterborne Diseases: Symptoms and Prevention

Disease which are commonly found in water.

by Jeremiah Castelo/

Water certainly is the source of life.

But with the potential to harbor pathogens that can cause serious harm to the human body, careful precautions must be taken in determining when it is safe to drink and when it isn’t.

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The World Health Organization states that more than 3.4 million people die from water borne diseases every year, making it the leading cause of disease and death in the world (Berman, 2009).

The pathogens responsible for these diseases come in the form of viruses, bacteria, or protozoa, all of which are invisible to the naked eye.

In this article, we’ve covered the 11 most common waterborne diseases, their symptoms and causes, along with which purification method can best eliminate them.

The World Health Organization states that more than 3.4 million people die from water borne diseases every year, making it the leading cause of disease and death in the world

Viruses

Viruses are infectious agents that are very diverse in shape, structure, and behavior, and can only replicate itself when inside the cell of an organism. Once a cell’s nucleus becomes infected with a virus, that infected cell then reproduces identical copies of itself at an alarming rate, with the ultimate goal of taking over the entire system. Viruses can infect humans, animals, plants, and even bacteria.

A healthy human body will produce an immune response to a viral infection, ultimately eliminating the virus. These immune responses can also be produced by vaccines which build immunity to specific viruses. While anti-viral medications can be used to treat viral infections, antibiotics have no effect on viruses.

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Pathogen: Norovirus

Disease: Gastroenteritis (Traveler’s Disease)

Effective Water Purification Methods:

  • Iodine Treatment
  • Solar Purification
  • Boiling
  • Distillation
  • Chlorination
  • Reverse Osmosis
  • Ultra-Violet Light

More commonly known as Hong Kong Dog, Delhi-belly, Aztec Two-Step, or Traveler’s Disease, Gastroenteritis infects 20% to 50% of international travelers each year.

Norovirus, the virus responsible for the estimated 10 million cases of diarrhea each year, is a highly contagious disease that attacks the digestive system and is typically transmitted through infected food and water or contact with infected surfaces.

The virus, once inside the body, disrupts the digestive tract causing loose stool and abdominal cramps. The intestines and stomach become inflamed, causing severe stomach pain, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, and fever.

Symptoms usually develop 12 to 48 hours after infection and cease after 1 to 3 days with a competent immune system. The virus is more likely to cause dehydration in older adults, younger children, or those with other illnesses due to excessive vomiting and diarrhea (CDC, 2018).

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Pathogen: HAV (Hepatitis A Virus)

Disease: Hepatitis A

Effective Water Purification Methods:

  • Iodine Treatment
  • Solar Purification
  • Boiling
  • Distillation
  • Chlorination
  • Reverse Osmosis
  • Ultra-Violet Light

Hepatitis A is a communicable liver disease usually transmitted through fecal matter in contaminated food and water. Those who travel to places where Hepatitis A is common and not properly treated are at much higher risk of infection.

Symptoms can be mild, lasting several weeks, or can be severe enough to last months. They usually occur within 2 to 6 weeks of infection and can include tiredness, muscle soreness, loss of appetite, fever, stomach ache, light-colored stool, dark yellow urine and yellowish skin. In rare cases, Hepatitis A can cause liver failure and death, but is more common with the elderly or with those compromised immune systems (CDC, 2017).

The antibodies produced as a result of the infection last for a lifetime and help protect the body against reinfection of the virus.

Protozoa

Protozoa are single-celled eukaryotes which feed on organic matter and can either be free-living or parasitic. They are similar to algae but too small to be seen without a microscope. Parasites are a type of protozoa which thrive at the expense of a host and usually dwell in fecal matter. They can often live within a host undetected for long periods of time due to their resilient nature.

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Pathogen: Cryptosporidium

Disease: Cryptosporidiosis

Effective Water Purification Methods:

  • Specified Filters
  • Boiling
  • Distillation
  • Reverse Osmosis
  • Ultra-Violet Light

Cryptosporidiosis is a diarrheal disease caused by a microscopic parasite called Cryptosporidium. This parasite is protected by an outer shell which allows it to survive outside of a host for long periods of time, making it resistant to chlorine treatment.  “Crypto,” as both parasite and disease are commonly known, lives in the intestines of infected humans and animals and is carried through the stool. Crypto is typically transmitted through coming into contact with water that has been contaminated with fecal matter containing the parasite.

Crypto is recognized as one of the most common water borne diseases in the United States, with an estimated 748,000 cases occurring annually. Though usually found in both recreational and drinking water, the virus also transmits through dirty swimming water, uncooked contaminated food, and close contact with infected people or animals.

The most common symptoms of infection are stomach cramps, watery diarrhea, vomiting, fever, and weight loss. Symptoms usually begin 7 days after infection and can last up to 2 weeks. Those with weakened immune systems are likely to develop more severe and even life-threatening illnesses (CDC, 2017).

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Pathogen: Giardia

Disease: Giardiasis

Effective Water Purification Methods:

  • Specified Filters
  • Chlorination (45 min.)
  • Iodine Treatment (50 min.)
  • Boiling
  • Distillation
  • Reverse Osmosis
  • Ultra-Violet Light

Giardia is a highly communicable microscopic parasite usually found in soil and contaminated human feces. Though its main mode of transmission is through contaminated water, it is also typically found on food and unsanitary surfaces. Like Crypto, Giardia also has a protective shell, allowing it to survive harsher conditions and making it more tolerant to certain disinfection methods such as chlorination. In order to kill Giardia through chlorination, allow the water to sit for 45 minutes, rather than the standard 30 minutes. For iodine, it’s 50 minutes.

Giardiasis, the disease which Giardia causes, is a global disease. It infects 2% of adults and 6 to 8% of children in developed countries worldwide, and hospitalizes about 5,000 people in the United States every year.

Children in childcare settings, outdoorsmen who drink unsafe water, and international travelers are at higher risk for Giardia infection. Symptoms usually start 1 to 3 weeks after infection and can include fatigue, vomiting, nausea, loss of appetite, greasy stools, diarrhea, bloating, excessive gas, abdominal pain, and headaches (CDC, 2015).

Bacteria

A bacterium, singular for bacteria, is a single-celled organism that lives as part of a colony whose numbers can reach into the billions. They are found in almost every environment on earth and can withstand a wide range of conditions and temperatures. Bacteria aren’t necessarily harmful to the human system. In fact, tens of trillions of microorganisms which include over 1000 different species of bacteria are responsible for the proper and healthy functioning of our digestive tract (Gut Microbiota).

Bacteria are extremely adaptable and can build resistance to antibiotics over time. Due the increased amount of processed foods that humans have consumed through recent years, digestive tract bacteria have adapted to use both organic and inorganic material as a food source.

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Pathogen: Campylobacter Jejuni

Disease: Campylobacteriosis

Effective Water Purification Methods:

  • Specified Filters
  • Iodine Treatment
  • Solar Purification
  • Boiling
  • Distillation
  • Chlorination
  • Reverse Osmosis
  • Ultra-Violet Light

Though most commonly transmitted through eating raw or uncooked poultry, Campylobacter can also be transmitted through contaminated water, contaminated food, contact with animals, and drinking unpasteurized milk.

With a strong enough immune system, it is possible not to show symptoms at all after becoming infected. However, for those with weakened immune systems, such as people with AIDS, blood disorders, or those receiving chemotherapy, Campylobacter can spread into the blood stream, causing a life-threatening infection.

Symptoms of the disease are diarrhea, fever, stomach cramps, and vomiting, and typically start within 2 to 5 days after the infection.

About 1 in 1000 people who are infected with Campylobacter can develop GBS, a more serious disease that affects the immune system.

Most people recover from the disease within a week, although the bacteria may remain in the stool for several weeks, posing risk for further person-to-person transmission.

Though not often fatal, this bacterium is one of the four most common cause of diarrhea around the world. Every year, it affects around 1.3 million people in the US and 550 million people globally. For reasons unknown, Campylobacter infection has been increasing in developed countries for the past several years (CDC, 2017).

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Pathogen: Legionella

Disease: Legionnaires’ Disease

Effective Water Purification Methods:

  • Specified Filters
  • Iodine Treatment
  • Solar Purification
  • Boiling
  • Distillation
  • Chlorination
  • Reverse Osmosis
  • Ultra-Violet Light

Legionnaires’ disease is a type of pneumonia caused by Legionella, a bacterium found in fresh water environments such as lakes and streams. It becomes a health concern when the bacteria make its way into human-made water systems such as water tanks, hot tubs, plumbing systems, and showerheads and faucets. It thrives in water temperatures between 95 to 115 degrees Fahrenheit.

Unlike most water borne diseases, Legionnaires’ disease isn’t transmitted by direct human contact, but through tiny water droplets in the air, or mist. A person becomes infected when the water droplets are breathed in and enter the lungs.

Legionella derived its name from its first outbreak in 1976, when 129 out of 2000 people who attended an American Legion convention became infected. Among those infected, 29 died. In the US, there are between 8,000 are 18,000 reported cases of Legionnaire’s disease every year. About 10% of those who contract the disease die.

Many people who are exposed to the bacteria may not even develop the disease. However, there are risk factors that increase the likelihood of infection such as old age, chronic lung disease, smoking, and a poor immune system. Symptoms of the disease include cough, fever, muscle pains, shortness of breath, vomiting, and occasionally, diarrhea.

There is no known vaccine to immunize from the disease. Taking clean water precautions, especially with drinking water, is a one way to prevent exposure. If infected, antibiotics and hospitalization will be required (CDC, 2018).

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Pathogen: Shigella

Disease: Shigellosis (Dysentery)

Effective Water Purification Methods:

  • Specified Filters
  • Iodine Treatment
  • Solar Purification
  • Boiling
  • Distillation
  • Chlorination
  • Reverse Osmosis
  • Ultra-Violet Light

Commonly known as dysentery, Shigellosis is a highly contagious water borne disease caused by Shigella, a kind of bacteria that thrives in fecal matter. Transmission can occur through drinking contaminated water or when a person puts infected material in his/her mouth. Frequent handwashing is an effective way of limiting Shigella transmission.

Symptoms begin 1 or 2 days after exposure to the bacteria, and resolve within 5 to 7 days with a healthy immune system. Some might not show any symptoms at all but are still capable of transmitting it to others.

Infected people will show symptoms of fever, stomach pains, and diarrhea. Those who are more likely to contract the disease are young children, travelers, and those with weakened immune systems.

The Shigella bacteria can cause severe complications like dehydration, rectal bleeding, and seizures in small children. The most severe of complications is death by contamination of the bloodstream. Of the 700,000 deaths each year, most of these fatalities happen in developing countries where there are very few water treatment programs and where sanitation is a constant challenge.

An estimated 18,000 cases of Shigellosis occur in the United States every year (CDC, 2018).

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Pathogen: Salmonella

Disease: Salmonellosis

Effective Water Purification Methods:

  • Specified Filters
  • Iodine Treatment
  • Solar Purification
  • Boiling
  • Distillation
  • Chlorination
  • Reverse Osmosis
  • Ultra-Violet Light

Discovered by American scientist, Dr. Salmon, salmonella is a bacterium that thrives in fecal matter and is transmitted through raw meat, raw eggs, fruits and vegetables, and contaminated water. Those at higher risk for infection are those who travel internationally, those who own birds or reptiles, and those with bowel disorders and weakened immune systems.

Drinking water becomes contaminated when wild animals defecate into streams and rivers

People who develop salmonellosis will show signs of diarrhea, chills, abdominal cramps, and fever. The fever can last up to seven days and with adequate hydration, most people can recover without medical intervention.

Every year, out of the 1.2 million people who get infected, 23,000 need hospitalization (CDC, 2018).

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Pathogen: Salmonella Typhi

Disease: Typhoid Fever

Effective Water Purification Methods:

  • Specified Filters
  • Iodine Treatment
  • Solar Purification
  • Boiling
  • Distillation
  • Chlorination
  • Reverse Osmosis
  • Ultra-Violet Light

Salmonella Typhi is the bacteria that causes typhoid fever. Globally, it causes roughly 17 million infections and 200,000 deaths every year. A subspecies of the Salmonella bacterium, salmonella typhi can only affect humans and is more common in developing countries where hygiene is poor.

There are about 400 reported cases of Typhoid Fever in the United States every year, 75% of which are due to international travel.

Salmonella typhi grows in the intestines and blood and is transmitted through water or food contaminated with the feces of an infected person. A typical contamination process is when stool, buried in the soil, comes into contact with a close water source, usually a deep well. The water supply, when contaminated, can also contaminate the food. The bacteria can survive for many weeks in water or even in a dried sewage.

Symptoms can appear anywhere from 6 to 30 days after exposure and can include fever as high as 104 degrees Fahrenheit, abdominal pain, lethargy, diarrhea, severe headaches and poor appetite. If not treated immediately, typhoid fever can be fatal in up to 20% of infected people. When traveling to countries where typhoid is rampant, prior vaccination is highly recommended (CDC, 2018).

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Pathogen: Vibrio Cholerae

Disease: Cholera

Effective Water Purification Methods:

  • Specified Filters
  • Iodine Treatment
  • Solar Purification
  • Boiling
  • Distillation
  • Chlorination
  • Reverse Osmosis
  • Ultra-Violet Light

Vibrio Cholerae is the bacteria responsible for cholera outbreaks. Cholera is a highly infectious disease that was prevalent in the 1800s when proper water treatment systems were not yet in place. Though rare in the United States today, cholera is still pervasive in developing countries with poor sewage systems.

Every year, around 150,000 cases of the disease is reported by the World Health Organization. With a 1% mortality rate, cholera treatment has gained significant headway as of recent years. However, if left untreated, the chances of dying increase to 60%.

Once infected, the common symptoms are diarrhea, dehydration, muscle cramps, rapid heart rate, low blood pressure, loss of skin elasticity, and excessive thirst. Without proper treatment death can occur within just a few hours (CDC, 2018).

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Pathogen: Escherichia Coli

Disease: Verotoxic E. Coli

Effective Water Purification Methods:

  • Specified Filters
  • Iodine Treatment
  • Solar Purification
  • Boiling
  • Distillation
  • Chlorination
  • Reverse Osmosis
  • Ultra-Violet Light

Escherichia Coli, more commonly known as E. Coli, is a type of bacteria that lives in the intestines of humans and animals. Though most strains of e. coli are harmless, some can cause serious damage in the form of Verotoxic E. Coli, which infects around 100,000 people and kills 90 every year in the US.

Once infected, symptoms usually start within 3-4 days of exposure and can include abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting and fever. Those with healthy immune systems usually heal within 5 to 7 days. If left untreated, those with compromised immune systems can escalate into dehydration, intestinal infection, kidney failure and death.

The disease is usually transmitted through unsafe handling of food and through contaminated water. Poor sanitation can move the bacteria from humans or animals into the water stream (CDC, 2018).

Conclusion

Waterborne pathogens are everywhere but it is up to us to ensure we take the proper precautions to reduce the risk of exposure. Even though those in developed parts of the world have the privilege of modern infrastructure and sanitation systems, there can never be a 100% guarantee that all of the water we come into contact with will be pathogen free. One crack in a water pipe can put the entire water supply at risk of exposure.

When traveling, camping, or preparing for water storage at home, proper knowledge of the potential risks at hand is essential. When overseas, only drink water from trusted, properly sealed bottled sources. When unsure of the quality of a water source, always err on the side of caution and avoid it or apply the proper purification methods. Be aware and informed and keep yourselves and your family safe.

Thank you for taking the time to read our article on common waterborne diseases. We’d love to hear your feedback in the comments section below. If you’ve found this article to be useful and are interested in learning more, be sure to sign up for our newsletter.

OCTOBER 15, 2018

References:

Berman, J. (2009, October 29). WHO: Waterborne Disease is World’s Leading Killer. Retrieved from https://www.voanews.com/a/a-13-2005-03-17-voa34-67381152/274768.html

CDC. (2015, July 22). Giardia. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/giardia/index.html

CDC. (2017, September 29). Hepatitis A Information. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/hav/index.htm

CDC. (2017, January 12). Parasites – Cryptosporidium (also known as “Crypto”). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/crypto/index.html

CDC. (2017, October 25). Campylobacter (Campylobacteriosis). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/campylobacter/index.html

CDC. (2018, June 13). Norovirus. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/norovirus/index.html

CDC. (2018, April 30). Legionnaires Disease and Pontiac Fever. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/legionella/index.html

CDC. (2018, January 17). Shigella – Shigellosis. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/shigella/index.html

CDC. (2018, June 14). Salmonella. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/index.html

CDC. (2018, June 28). Typhoid Fever. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/typhoid-fever/index.html

CDC. (2018, May 3). Cholera – Vibrio cholerae infection. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/cholera/index.html

CDC. (2018, April 20). E.coli (Escherichia coli). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/ecoli/index.html

Gut MicroBiota. (n.d.). Gut Microbiota Info – Gut Microbiota for Health. Retrieved from http://www.gutmicrobiotaforhealth.com/en/about-gut-microbiota-info/

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Bill Gates: The Threat Of A “Disease X” Global Pandemic Is “Very Real”

Bill Gates Disease X

When it comes to global health policy, Bill Gates has never been known for subtlety. So it’s hardly surprising that his charitable foundation’s latest report on the greatest challenges facing mankind might make some readers want to lock themselves in an indefinite quarantine.

Gates

Readers familiar with Gates’ previous warnings about the rising risk of a global pandemic will recognize the top three risks: antibiotic resistance, governmental reluctance to fund health-care solutions and the next global contagion. The latter risk factor has become so universally feared by health professionals that the World Health Organization already has a name for it: “Disease X”. The likelihood of an explosive global pandemic breaking out in the relatively near future increases along with the population in the world’s poorest countries, which are presently experiencing explosive population growth even as birth rates in the developed world plummet. And if the world’s wealthiest countries don’t invest resources to combat these issues in Africa, South America and Asia now, it will be infinitely more expensive grappling with the consequences on the back-end, as Gates explained in an interview with the Telegraph.

“We are not fully prepared for the next global pandemic,” he says. “The threat of the unknown pathogen – highly-contagious, lethal, fast-moving – is real. It could be a mutated flu strain or something else entirely. The Swine Flu and 2014 Ebola outbreaks underscored the threat.”

The risks associated with the population boom in the poorest countries in Africa has long been treated as “the elephant in the room” by global policy makers. Even if one sets aside the risk of disease, the developing world must step up to monitor the economic impacts of rapidly increasing populations, confronting issues like political instability to ensure that the expansion will yield unbridled growth like similar periods in China and India.

According to demographers projections, the population of Africa is set to explode to 4 billion by the end of the century.

Population

While the story includes few references to world leaders, Gates paused to praise UK Prime Minister Theresa May for her recent tour of Africa, during which she re-committed to UK aide spending…

Gates commends Theresa May’s recent Africa tour where she recommitted to Britain’s aid spending target of 0.7 per cent of gross national income. He says he has attempted to meet with Jeremy Corbyn, although so far failed, due to a schedule clash.

…And tried what looked to be her first attempt at dancing.

Embedded video

Moving on from this talk of global pandemics, Gates spared a few moment to opine on how governments should approach social media. And in his view, they should step up and regulate it with a heavy hand.

“They will step up in a pretty strong way to all those things. People who are super-successful need to be held to a very high standard. Some of that will lead to a very unfair personalisation as though these mistakes are somehow down to flaws in Mark’s character, or something like that. Mark knows he is in a position of responsibility and is trying to learn about this stuff.”

We imagine Mark Zuckerberg will be thrilled to hear that.

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New Higher Output 50 BMG Rocket Stove by Bullet Proof Rocket Stoves

Bullet Proof Rocket Stove 50 BMG Cooking and Heating

The redesigned 50 BMG.  Higher output, easier storage, and better air control.

Made In USA By Americans.

Bullet Proof 50 Gravity Feed Rocket Stove and Tent Heater

Great Stove for families and heavy duty cooking needs, and accepts 4″ standard venting pipe to use as a temporary heating stove.  Includes damper and ash tray for easy cleanout.

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It’s Time To Leave- Part 2, by Pat Cascio

bugging out in an RV

Our family has a plan for bugging out, if it’s time to leave and things come to that. Actually, we have several plans. I am continuing to tell you my plans. Yesterday, I shared my choice of weapons for self defense and hunting. My Choice of Blackhawk Products Let me share a word on my choices here. As long time readers will realize, I’m a big fan of Blackhawk products. (Know that they do not pay me to promote their products. I just happen to think very highly of the quality of their gear, and that’s why I selected it.) …

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It’s Time To Leave- Part 1, by Pat Cascio

bugging out in an RV

Timing is everything, if you decide to bug out and leave! I receive no less than 150 e-mails per day. Many of these are from our readers, even though my e-mail address is no longer listed on SurvivalBlog.com. Readers kept it, even after it was removed. I honestly don’t have time to respond to every e-mail I receive each day. However, one question I get the most often is about bugging out before, during, or after a SHTF scenario, and there is no one answer to this dilemma. Plan For Many Situations I’m getting on in years. Very shortly, I’ll …

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USGS Updates Yellowstone Volcano Threat to High.

yellowstone Volcano Eruption

What would Yellowstone Exploding look like?  No place on Earth would be safe.  The average earth temperature could plummet by 26 degrees from all the ash ejected into the atmosphere.

Last week, the USGS released an updated threat assessment for U.S. volcanoes. The first assessment was published in 2005. The 2018 update refined the original assessment by accounting for new research and observations during the past 13 years. Some volcanoes moved up the ranking, and some moved down. A few volcanoes were added to the list, and a few were removed. But what does this mean for Yellowstone?

First, let’s review what the assessment is and what it isn’t. The assessment is not a list of which volcanoes are most likely to erupt, nor is it a ranking of the most “active” volcanoes. Instead, the assessment is a quantification of the relative threat posed by the volcanoes in the United States. Threat is defined as the combination of a volcano’s hazard potential, and the exposure of people and property to those hazards. In other words, a volcano that only erupts lava flows but doesn’t have anyone living on it has very low threat, since even though there is a hazard (lava), there are no people or property at risk from that hazard. A volcano that might experience only small explosions but that is surrounded by towns and near an airport has a higher threat, since lots of people and property are exposed to the hazard (even if the hazard might be a relatively small one).

Another important definition is “active volcano.” What does it mean to be “active”? Both the original 2005 report and the 2018 update define “active” to mean that the volcano has experienced an eruption during the past 11,650 years — the Holocene geological epoch. How then could Yellowstone even be considered for a ranking, given that the last time magma reached the surface at Yellowstone was 70,000 years ago?

It turns out that, in addition to volcanoes that have erupted in the Holocene, the report also considers caldera systems that show unrest — for example, earthquake activity, ground deformation or gas discharge — even if they have not erupted recently. There are three such caldera systems in the United States: Valles caldera, New Mexico (which last erupted more than 50,000 years ago); Long Valley caldera, California (last eruption was more than 15,000 years ago); and Yellowstone.

Now that we have established which volcanoes are considered, we need to address how “scores” are tabulated. In the report, 24 factors that describe a volcano’s hazard potential and the exposure of people and property to those hazards are considered. The hazard factors include such categories as the size of the largest explosion to have occurred at the volcano, the average recurrence of eruptions, what types of eruptions have taken place, and whether or not the volcano shows signs of unrest. Exposure factors include nearby population, nearby aviation activity, and nearby infrastructure (like power and transportation resources).

The overall threat score is determined by multiplying the sum of the hazard factors by the sum of the exposure factors. The top three volcanoes, in order, are Kīlauea (Hawaii), Mount St. Helens (Washington), and Mount Rainier (Washington). A general categorization was also introduced — “very high threat,” “high threat,” “moderate threat,” “low threat” and “very low threat.”

Relative to the other U.S. calderas, Yellowstone lies in the middle. Long Valley caldera is No. 18 (“very high threat”) and Valles caldera is No. 68 (“moderate threat”).

Despite the fact that Yellowstone has not experienced any magmatic eruptions in 70,000 years, the system reached its lofty ranking (compared to other volcanoes in the country) because of the long-past history of very large explosions, more recent history of steam explosions, observed seismic, deformation, and degassing activity, and the presence of a population (over 4 million people visit Yellowstone National Park each year).

The threat ranking is intended as a guide in terms of which volcanoes should be prioritized for upgrades in monitoring capabilities. Yellowstone is already among the best-monitored volcanoes in the world, but we expect that the upgraded threat assessment will be helpful in refining the monitoring plan, which is due for revision.

The full report is available at https://pubs.er.usgs.gov/publication/sir20185140.

If you have any questions about the threat assessment or how Yellowstone fits in to the 2018 report, feel free to contact us any time at yvowebteam@usgs.gov

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The Well-Balanced Gun Collection

gun_collection_311844

A topic that comes up in more than half of my consulting calls, is firearms. Most survivalists gravitate toward guns for obvious reasons. If anything, SurvivalBlog could surely be labelled a “guns and groceries” oriented blog, and most of our readers are like-minded. We tend to have large gun collections. We aren’t entirely gun-centric, but our concept of preparedness includes owning guns and having full proficiency in their use. The greatest difficulty vis-a-vis guns for those in our community is not hand-wringing about whether or not we should own them. We’ll leave that pseudo-question up to the leftists. Rather, our …

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Backup Power, A Review by KS

Power Outages from EMP

Backup power for when the grid goes down or you have to bug out should be an important part of everyone’s prepping plan. For some, that power supply might be more important than others, especially those with medical conditions. Those might be people on dialysis, CPAP machines, or any other health-related electrical pieces of equipment. Then, there’s the obvious short-term food storage issue we think about relating to our refrigerators and freezers. Long-term uses might include recharging batteries, running Ham radio equipment, et cetera. Real Options For Backup Power For many years, the only real option for backup power was …

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‘Twas the Night After SHTF- Part 2, by H.C.

The intent of my article is to first, bring to view the reluctance issues we have that keep us from securing our stuff, and also to think ahead when actually doing it. The only thing worse than not hiding your preps, is hiding them poorly! Common Arguments About Caching (continued) In part 1, we began listing and addressing some of the common arguments against caching. Let’s continue with this. I Will Defend My Stuff If Necessary Will you defend your stuff? Have you thought all of that through? If you are caught off guard with a couple of nasty people …

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‘Twas the Night After SHTF- Part 1, by H.C.

Twas a night after SHTF, when all through the house, Not a creature was stirring, except for the louse; The rifle was hung over the chimney with care, In hopes not to use it, but to know it was there;   The children were nestled all snug in their beds, While visions of normalcy, danced in their heads; And mamma still canning, and I getting undressed, Had just been discussing how we felt so blessed;   When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter, I sprang with my rifle to see what was the matter; Away to the …

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Should We Brace for Severe Winters Ahead?

You may have missed a few brief mentions of an emerging threat in the mainstream news: The face of the sun has gone mostly blank in the past few years, with an extremely low number of sunspots. There have only been sunspots visible on the the sun for 133 days in the past year. The last three solar cycles have become progressively weaker. There is now a legitimate concern that because there have been several very weak solar cycles in succession, that we could tip over into another Grand Solar Minimum (GSM). This potentially developing GSM could be something similar …

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Smoke Grenades – Any Utility?, by T. in Virginia

gng-smoke-grenades

I’ve participated in a few discussions recently about the utility, if any, of smoke grenades and similar devices to an average person, or even a reasonably trained and equipped prepper, in a SHTF situation. There are certainly some valid points to both sides of the arguments. So, this short article is intended to share a few thoughts to help SurvivalBlog readers make up their own minds. Smoke grenade use generally falls into two areas— signaling or obscuration. Large scale smoke, such as from vehicle-mounted or stationary military-style generators, can also have other applications that are beyond the intended scope of …

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7 Best Tent Stoves To Make You A Winter Camping Hero

Bullet Proof Rocket Stoves 50 BMG Rocket Stove Flame

We are excited and honored to have been featured on Skilled Survival website with one of our products. They featured our 50BMG Rocket Stove in the “7 best tent stoves to make you a winter camping hero.” Here is the link to the article. Thank you Justin Jackson and his team for the feature.

https://www.skilledsurvival.com/tent-stove/

7 Best Tent Stoves To Make You A Winter Camping Hero

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Truth Not Fiction Matters

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Fresh Ebola Outbreak Discovered In Sierra Leone

Fresh Ebola Outbreak Discovered In Sierra Leone

Updated July 26, 2018

 

A new Ebola virus has been found in bats in Sierra Leone, two years after the end of an outbreak that killed over 11,000 across West Africa, the government said on Thursday.

It is not yet known whether the new Bombali species of the virus — which researchers say could be transmitted to humans — can develop into the deadly Ebola disease.

“At this time, it is not yet known if the Bombali Ebola virus has been transmitted to people or if it causes disease in people but it has the potential to infect human cells,” Amara Jambai, a senior ministry of health official, told AFP.

“This is early stages of the findings,” Jambai added, calling on the public to remain calm while awaiting further research.

A health ministry spokesman and a researcher who worked on the discovery confirmed the findings to AFP.

Researchers who found the new virus in the northern Bombali region are now working with the Sierra Leone government to determine whether any humans were infected.

“As precautionary measures, people should refrain from eating bats,” Harold Thomas, health ministry spokesman told AFP.

The worst-ever Ebola outbreak started in December 2013 in southern Guinea before spreading to two neighbouring west African countries, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

The West African outbreak was caused by the Zaire species, which has historically been the most deadly in humans since it was first identified in 1976.

That outbreak killed more than 11,300 people out of nearly 29,000 registered cases, according to World Health Organization estimates.

The WHO declared the epidemic over in January this year, but this was followed by flare-ups in all three countries.

AFP

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Build a BOB by Jim Cobb

The goal of bugging out is to reach a safe location, such as your predetermined bug out location (BOL) as quickly, safely, and efficiently as possible. That could be considerably hampered should you end up lost along the way.

Part of bug out planning involves selecting primary and alternate routes to reach your destination. Those routes should be practiced, too, on a regular basis. Travel them during the day and at night, in all four seasons, so you can recognize landmarks and such easily. For many people, they already know the BOL area intimately as it is the neighborhood where they grew up or perhaps it is a favorite family vacation spot. Assuming the normal roads are available, they’ll have no problem finding their way there.

Continue Reading

Build a BOB – Introduction

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Mental, Emotional, and Spiritual Preparation for Survival, by S.L.

What does it mean to survive? Obviously, humans have survived countless natural and man-made disasters and continue to survive and thrive on planet earth. However, in this blog, we are focusing on surviving a SHTF situation. We Prepare All around us we see our freedoms being eroded and many of our systems being corrupted. So we prepare. But for what? So many scenarios could play out– a false epidemic, fires (natural or man made), SWAT teams in the early hours in small communities where they can knock out power and cell, preventing us from spreading the alarm. And, there are …

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