Giant Gerbils Save Mankind

Plague conjures images of Gothic horror–rough wooden carts piled high with pestilent bodies–but it is more than a medieval memory. The disease, caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis, kills several hundred people every year by attacking the lungs, lymph nodes or blood. Less obviously, plague also ravages wildlife around the world.
…Confined to rural regions, the disease so far is not a major threat to people–only a few Americans die from it annually. But things could change if the bacterium spreads to urban-loving rodents such as rats. Now some researchers think that another species could provide the information needed to contain plague’s spread in the U.S.: the giant gerbils of Kazakhstan.

This is why I read Scientific American for stress relief. If you are wondering just how big those gerbils are, follow the link here.

Unfortunately, this week’s news in rodents is not all good. Trenton, New Jersey is wondering if plague-infected dead mice ended up in the regular trash.

Dr. David Perlin, director of the research institute, said the experiment was part of a National Institutes of Health bioterrorism program to test a vaccine for plague. The infectious disease often caused by bites from rodent fleas is of interest to researchers because of its potential for use by bioterrorists…
The rodents had been infected with the plague, Perlin said, but he said they posed no threat to research staff or the public in part because they were dead. They were also housed in a secure facility that follows protocols for a biohazard site, he said.

This is the same secure facility that lost the mice. Luckily we can count on the giant gerbils of Kazakhstan to come to the rescue. Meanwhile, if your cat drags in something frozen–don’t touch it.

2 thoughts on “Giant Gerbils Save Mankind

  1. The plague spreads via fleas that leave the bodies of dead rodents,right?More dangerous dead than alive.
    Prairie dogs,so beloved of Disney are major plague vectors.
    Plague was endemic in the area of Vietnam where I was stationed–they gave us two shots of plague vaccine-later on I heard it was useless.Anyway,no one got plague while I was there that I knew of.Maybe they just never mentioned it.
    Bubonic plague is treatable with antibiotics,but septicemic plague and pneumonic plague are much quicker killers as I hear.
    Kind of like comparing Marburg virus to Ebola.
    Anyone care to share a glass of soda?

  2. Besides the Bio threats at Fort Detrick MD where our Chemical & Bio-terrorism warfare labs exist in making the elements we have private labs all over the country experimenting with serious dangerous specimens of deadly diseases and the hospitals dumping 250 million pounds of drugs down our sewers every year no wonder our drugs become ineffective on use in humans after some time. ( the rate we are going Armageddon will be here before we will know it. We pollute the planet worse every year and with these things happening time is running out before we can get the planet back in shape again.

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