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THE COMING PLAGUE
UNDERSTANDING THE THREAT OF DISEASES IN THE END TIMES
FROM THE BOOK OF REVELATION
6:8And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.
11:6These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will.
16:10And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain, 16:11And blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds.
· There are three types of infectious agent;germs, viruses, and prions. Germs, due to their larger size, were discovered not too long after good optical microscopes were invented. However, it wasn’t until the invention of the electron microscope that we were able to see viruses and prions. But early electron microscopes were not powerful enough to see a prion. It wasn’t until the STEM or Scanning Tunneling Electron Microscope was invented that we were able to figure out that prions were responsible for some diseases that had no apparent causative agent.
· Viruses are responsible for the flu, the common cold, polio, and some of the childhood diseases. Viruses also do not respond to antibiotics. The only reason to give antibiotics for a viral infection is to prevent or cure a secondary germ infection brought on by a weakened immune system.
· Germs are responsible for such things as boils,ear infections, staph infections including necrotizing fasciitis or the flesheating bacteria , some childhood diseases, and intestinal infections such asthe one now known to be responsible for most ulcers, the campylobacter pylori bacillus1.
· Prions are mainly responsible for the group of diseases that are related to Creutzfeld Jacob Syndrome. We will cover that one in more detail later.
· No known cure for many dangerous varieties. Some of the most dangerous viruses such as the one that causes AIDS and the Ebola viruses have no known cure and no known vaccine to prevent them.
· Highly mutagenic. Viruses are capable of changing their form to get past our immune systems while still remaining infectious. One of our greatest threats from viruses is that a virus with a high mortality rate, but low transmissibility, like the Ebola family will mutate into a form that can spread like the common cold. Some of these viruses have as high as a 90% mortality rate even with hospital provided life support and treatment. That mortality rate would skyrocket to nearly 100% if one of them ever acquired the ability to spread as easily as the common cold because the hospitals would quickly run out of the necessary life support equipment in a true pandemic.
· But germs are catching up with them. We now have several germ based diseases that are developing resistance to antibiotics.Tuberculosis2 is one that has only one known effective antibiotic treatment. There is also MRSA or Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus. While MRSA was primarily found in hospitals it has lately become community acquired. Necrotizing fasciitis is the flesh eating bacteria and can require amputation of whole limbs to stop it in severe cases. Our misuse of antibiotics is making the situation worse. When antibiotics are prescribed for viral infections or the full course is not taken there is a chance that the surviving germs will have an increased resistance to the antibiotic.
· The Spanish flu of 1918 – The influenza pandemic of 1918-1919 killed more people than the Great War, known today as World War I (WWI), at somewhere between 20 and 40 million people. It has been cited as the most devastating epidemic in recorded world history. More people died of influenza in a single year than in four-years of the Black Death Bubonic Plague from 1347 to 1351.Known as "Spanish Flu" or "La Grippe" the influenza of1918-1919 was a global disaster. (Cited from http://virus.stanford.edu/uda/ )
· We are coming due for the next big pandemic
· This time world travel speed and patterns will make it worse. The Spanish Flu was a major problem in 1918 when the fastest way to get from one country to another was by ship and could take weeks. How much worse will it be when we are seldom more than 24 hours from anywhere on the globe?
· Laurie Garrett, science and health writer, winner of the Pulitzer, Polk,and Peabody Prize, is the author of The Coming Plague and Betrayal of Trust.When I met Ms. Garrett at a symposium held at a college in Joliet IL. I asked her what she thought the cause of the next pandemic would be. She replied that she firmly believed that it would be a new flu virus that we would have little or no immunity to like when the 1918 Spanish flu hit. She made that statement in 1996.
· Some recent emerging viruses are H5N1, Nipah,SARS, Hanta, and Swine Flu.
· Some “old friends” that pop up unexpectedly include…
· The Ebola family; Zaire,Marburg, and others.
· Dengue Fever also known as “Breakbone Fever” for the pain it causes.
· Lyme disease, carried by infected deer ticks.
· And let’s not forget Legionnaires' disease. In1976 several members of a group of conventioneers came down with a mysterious disease and nobody knew what it was or how they got it. Medical investigators finally figured out that it was breeding in the evaporative cooling towers on the hotel where the legionnaires were staying and getting into the air handling equipment to be spread throughout the hotel. Never underestimate nature’s ability to surprise us with a new way to do us in.
· As previously stated, some strains of Ebola are among the most deadly known viruses.
· Mortality rates can be as high as 90% and that is with life support equipment.
· What will happen if a true Ebola pandemic overloads the medical facilities? If Ebola ever goes airborne we may find out. Since treatment of Ebola requires multiple life support machines a pandemic would quickly become a major problem as hospitals would have to quickly put all their available units into service leaving no spare units for the majority of patients in pandemic conditions.
· Ebola is an extremely gruesome way to die. You end up leaking blood and body fluids from every opening in your body while your internal organs turn to soup.
· There is no known vaccine or cure for any of the Ebola strains
· The Reston Va. Incident3 was a wake up call. In 1989 a shipment of monkeys to the Reston Va. primate quarantine facility started an outbreak of a monkey strain of the Ebola virus. It was so bad that USAMRIID4and the CDC5ended up destroying all the monkeys, over 500 of them, and chemically “nuking”the building. The building was then sealed up and was not used again. On May30, 1995 the building was demolished. The wake up call from this was that the Reston Ebola strain was air transmissible, which was new to the Ebola viruses, 100%fatal to the monkeys, and when it was tested at the CDC it tested positive asthe human Ebola Zaire strain. Fortunately it wasn’t the Zaire strain but it was too close to it for comfort and airborne too. In December of 2008 the Reston Ebola strainwas found in hogs in the Philippines.It has since been found in other places and species. Since swine are one ofnatures most efficient “mutation factories” this is real reason for concern.
6 A pathogen doesn’t have to be a germ or a virus to cause an epidemic or a pandemic.
Now we are going to take a look at the smallest of the infectious agents, the prion. This one also is the only one that has none of the traits of a true life form.
· What do Creutzfeld Jacob, Scrapie, Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, and Chronic Wasting Disease have in common? They are all the same disease that we know most commonly as mad cow disease. Creutzfeld Jacob is the human form. Scrapie is the ovine or sheep form. Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy is the bovine or cattle form. And finally Chronic Wasting Disease is the form found in wild ruminants such as deer, moose, and elk.
· There is a Prion on the loose. A prion is not actually a life form in the sense that a germ or virus is. A prion is simply a protein that has folded wrong. A prion also does not reproduce in the way germs and viruses do, it just influences it’s properly folded neighbors to reconfigure and fold wrong too. Since the wrongly folded proteins are not viable they die off and leave holes in the tissue they have infected. Since the prions infect brain tissue that is the reason for the term spongiform(sponge like) encephalopathy(disease of the brain) is used.
· A prion is almost impossible to destroy. Forget diamonds, prions are really forever. They have abandoned airplane hangars loaded with contaminated feed in England. They have actually put some of the contaminated material through industrial incinerators and the ashes are still able to transmit the disease.
· Mad Cow Disease is a man made problem. It started when it was decided to supplement cattle feed with protein available in the form of slaughter house offal; specifically that from sheep brains6. Cattle were never meant, in nature, to eat anything but vegetation so when man decided to bypass God’s design we ended up with a new form of the prion disease called mad cow.
· It is spreading among wild ruminants in the United States.Pretty soon we may not be able to eat wild deer, moose, elk or any other members of the ruminant family. It started out in the northwest United States and it was thought that the Mississippi River would provide a barrier to it spreading east. But spread it did. First to upper Wisconsin and then to lower Wisconsin and the last I read about it at least two years ago it had spread to northern Illinois.
· If prion caused diseases become too common in the wild they cannot help but spread to our domestic cattle population. There is no way to prevent wild ruminants from dyeing on grazing land and their decomposing brains will deposit the prions on the ground to be taken up by grazing cattle herds. This is proving to be a slow, but unstoppable, process.
· I read an article at least 10 years ago that stated that a geneticist with a lab the size of a two car garage and $100kworth of equipment could set up a bioengineering operation capable of producing new strains of many deadly diseases. The article also stated that we were not too far away from knowing the gene sequences that give a pathogen its traits,such as air transmissibility and multiple drug resistance.
· Even though it was supposed to be destroyed, the smallpox virus still exists in at least two labs; one in the United States and one in Russia. What would happen if someone smuggled a sample of it out of one of the labs and it got loose in the world again? Most younger people would have no immunity at all to it. Since it was eradicated in nature there has been no need to vaccinate for it. The only ones who would still have any immunity to it would be at least in there mid sixties or older. As long as it takes to produce enough vaccine for the entire world there would be from many hundreds of thousands to millions of deaths from smallpox before it could be brought under control. And I think it is possible for that estimate to be woefully low.
· There is a dichotomy of good and evil to genetic research on microorganisms. Every significant new discovery brings us closer to a cure for the diseases that plague us. But that same discovery also brings us closer to the day when a rogue nation or terrorist organization can create a deadly bio-weapon using that same knowledge.
· It has been speculated that there are a large number of diseases hiding in areas of the world that man has yet to intrude on.They could be zoonotic animal strains or they could be endemic in native populations we have yet to come into contact with. There are not many of those left today, but it only takes one.
· There are a few scientists who buy into the“Panspermia”7 theory.
· But is it possible for an organism to come from outer space and still be biblically correct???
· The answer to that is no and yes.
· First the “NO” answer. It is not believed bybible scholars that God created life on any other world but ours. We are unique in the universe.
· And now the “YES” answer. There is credible evidence that there is indeed a source of some viruses that come from outside of our atmosphere; but if the bible doesn’t support Panspermia how could that happen. For instance, without the speed of world travel we have today how did the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918 get started on the same day in such diverse places as the United States and India.
· Here is one possible way that will not go against biblical teaching. We know that some meteors have struck the earth at some time in the past. The craters are still visible from some of the larger strikes. So what if some biological material was ejected into outer space from one or more of the impacts?
· We also know from some recent discoveries that some organisms can exist in environments that were previously thought to be too severe to support life of any kind. So what if some of the ejected material were to land on one of the other planets or the moons of one of the planets and take hold. Then it could develop and adapt to that environment and develop into something we have no immunity to. Another meteor impact on the other heavenly body could have then sent the mutated organism back into space to eventually cross paths with the earth. Or it may have just resided in space long enough for us to lose our immunity. And this is how a disease could come from outer space without having been created there.
10 So what can we do? - The short answer is pray. Pray to GOD that the rapture happens first.In a worst case scenario there will be precious little we can do before a major part of the planets population is gone. Even if we could develop a vaccine fora virus or find an antibiotic for a drug resistant microbe the time scale to do so would be way too long if a fast moving disease strikes.
11 And Finally, have you noticed a common trend in all of this. It seems that man causes most of his own problems when he abandons common sense or goes against God’s perfect plan to try to play the game his own way. Only a few of the problems discussed here can be attributed to pure chance alone.
1– Not all bacteria are bad guys. Lactobacillus Acidophilus, Bifida, and a few others are needed for good digestive health and to keep the growth of bad bacteria down.
2– TB patients used to be sent to sanitariums to be treated. They had to stay there until they were cured. This could be a long time since a long course of antibiotics is needed to treat tuberculosis. Now many patients stop treatment when they start feeling good. But they are still infected and when treatment is stopped early the surviving bacteria will have a heightened resistance to the antibiotic. FYI- Tuberculosis used to be called consumption for the way it would consume the patient’s strength and give him/her a pale worn out look.
3– An extremely interesting and informative book about Ebola and the Reston
Va. Incident is“The Hot Zone” by Richard Preston.
4– USAMRIID – United States Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases located in Fort Detrick Md.
5– CDC – Centers for Disease Control located in Atlanta Ga.
6– Sheep suffer from the disease called scrapie. When sheep brain material was used in cattle feed to boost the protein content the scrapie prion jumped across species and started the mad cow epidemic.
7– Panspermia is the theory that states that life started somewhere else in the universe and came here in primitive form by comet or asteroid to seed our planet and get evolution kick started.
· © 2009 DBIC-Inc.—Dennis M. (Yogi) Burnett
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