Siberian Burial Ground Could Thaw Frozen Smallpox

Admin | Published 2016-08-22 09:43
Approximately 40 people from the Yamal Peninsula, Siberia got hospitalized when a heat wave t thawed a permafrost a few weeks back. It realeased an anthrax ‘zombie outbreak’.  The Siberian Times now reports that experts dread the thawing might draw the return of the obliterated smallpox virus. IFLScience has reported that back in the 1800s, outbreaks happen over and over in a little town in Siberia. Hundreds of dead bodies were buried near the Kolyma River bank. Fast forward 120 years, the heat wave this summer is melting permafrost that surround the town at 3 times the rate. In effect, water levels rise in the river, subsequently eroding its banks where the bodies believed to still encase small pox are buried. At the moment, the risk is low but with scientists fully mindful on the situation for some time, panic level around the Kolyma River site is rising as hours go by. Bodies are being examined by Scientist coming from the Virology and Biotechnology Center (Vector) of Russia. The said bodies come from Siberian graves to assess the risk. It has been done by other researchers since the dawn of the 90s. Some bodies only show traces of smallpox sores, and some contain remains of smallpox DNA. This finding has been issued to the Barent Observer by Sergey Netesov, a microbiologist. This potential outbreak raises everyone's concern. Smallpox was already declared ‘eradicated’ in 1980 following a campaign for global immunization spearheaded by the World Health Organization. Netesov also added to TRT World some very wise words, "If you start having industrial exploration, people will start to move around the deep permafrost layers. Through mining and drilling, those old layers will be penetrated and this is where the danger is coming from. If it is true that these viruses survive in the same way those amoeba viruses survive, then smallpox is not eradicated from the planet – only the surface.”
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