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Sinking Teeth Into The Mysteries of Plague

Two plague victims in Aschheim-Bajuwarenring cemetery in Bavaria, Germany who died some 1500 years ago have been unearthed and are able to help provide an international team of scientists with a better understanding the type of virus that was responsible for their deaths sometime between 541 and 543. Thanks to the dental remains of these two unearthed plague victims, researchers using very sophisticated methods were able to extract DNA fragments of plague from the teeth from the skeletal remains and reconstruct the genome of what is now the oldest pathogen obtained to date. Yersinia Pestis or Y. Pestis is also known as plague. This bacterium was found to be responsible for the Justinian outbreak and the results showed that this was unique and distinct from various other strains that would later become the Black Death and other plague pandemics that would follow.

“This study raises intriguing questions about why a pathogen that was both so successful and so deadly suddenly died out. One testable possibility is that human populations evolved to become less susceptible,” says Edward Holmes, an NHMRC Australia Fellow at the University of Sydney.

Up until now little has been known about the exact cause of the Justinian epidemic’s origins or cause. The Justinian plague is thought to have been instrumental in bringing about the end of the Roman Empire and was, until the recent findings were too discover, responsible for the Black Death. The Justinian Plague is believed to have killed 30 to 50 million people, estimated to have been at least half of the world’s population at that time. Later the Black Death would emerge to ravage the medieval population killing 50 million Europeans between 1347 and 1351 some 800 years later. These recent findings now show that the Justinian plague was a unrelated strain from the plague that caused the Black Death.

The new results that are published in online edition of The Lancet Infectious Disease, show that the Justinian Plague was a distinct and separate genome of the same Pathogen know as Yersinia Pestis and not an evolutionary forefather or related to the same Yersinia Pestis strains responsible for the Black Death. Another pandemic that had taken hold in Hong Kong and spread across the globe is now more likely to be considered the precursor to the Black Death.

These findings would suggest that the Justinian pandemic strain also originated in Asia and not in Africa as some scientist originally thought. This would lead them to theorize that earlier epidemics, such as the Plague of Athens (430 BC) and the Antoine Plague (165 – 180 AD) may have also been unique and distinct emergence of related Yersinia Pestis strains.

“We know the bacterium Y. Pestis has jumped from rodents into humans throughout history and rodent reservoirs of plague still exist today in many parts of the world. If the Justinian plague could erupt in the human population, cause a massive pandemic, and then die out, it suggest it could happen again. Fortunately we now have antibiotics that could be used to effectively treat plague, which lessens the chances of another large scale human pandemic” says Dave Wagner, an associate professor in the Center for Microbial Genetics and Genomics at Northern Arizona University.

These studies would suggest that the threat of an outbreak of Yersinia Pestis can occur at any time now, or in the future, is quite possible. Add to this, the possibility of some individual or person intent to using the pathogen as a weapon to wreck terror on an unsuspecting population raises the stakes even higher. New technologies are now available to health and safety teams in the early detection of such possible natural outbreaks and first responders now have the capabilities to be able to equip themselves with the latest tools required to easily and reliably detect not only Yersinia Pestis, but other possible pathogens that could be used as weapons against humanity. This ability to provide early detection is essential in containing and maintaining control of a terrorist planned outbreak and is crucial to preventing another full scale global population pandemic such as those seen in the past.

One of the biggest breakthroughs in rapid and reliable early detection of pathogens that can be utilized against terrorist is the BADD line of bio-warfare detection tests produced by AdVnt Biotechnologies LLC. Developed in response to the white powder incidents that occurred after 9/11, the tests were used in the detection of bio-warfare pathogens during the Iraq War. This line of tests gave first responders the ability to arrive at a possible bio-threat scene and test for powders and liquids left by suspected terrorist and ascertain within 15-minutes or less if the material held the potential of becoming a cause of wide spread contamination. This rapid testing with their on-the-scene detection capabilities helped to open windows of opportunities for immediate containment and control of a possible pandemic. AdVnt Biotechnologies was also the first to revolutionize the hand held assays when they were the first to develop a testing platform that allows for the collection of one suspicious sample of unknown origin to be tested against multiple targets on one detection test cassette. In the not too distant past, responders would have to collect up to 5 samples and run 5 tests one at a time to discover what active agent provided the danger of contamination. If there was very little or sparse material left behind, the residue would have to be sent off site to be examined while the clock was ticking. With the invention of AdVnt Biotechnologies ground breaking PS-5T Pro-Strip multi-agent rapid screening system, for the first time, responders have the ability to hit five different targets from one collected bio-threat sample. Saving time, saving resources, saving lives.

AdVntures in Mycotoxicology - A Beginners Guide

Informant 15-Minute Black Mold Detection Test

Being able to understand the differences in determining what constitutes the definition of Fungus, Mold, Mildew, Algae or even something basic as Slime can be a bit confusing. Some of these differences can be determined by taking a few moments to ‘look under the hood’ and see what these species are composed of and why they are given their own unique identification. You will want to pay close attention to the following lesson since there will be a test… Just kidding.

When it comes to understanding differences in a species it is always best to understand how to define them in order to know what sets each of them apart. In the case of Fungus, Mold, Mildew, and Algae this is of the utmost importance since the relationship of each is almost closely associated with the other either through mis-identification or by sharing true similarities.

Let us begin with gaining a understanding of Fungus, what exactly is it and how is it defined. Fungus or its’ plural Fungi is defined as any diverse group of eukaryotic single-celled or multi-nucleate organisms that live by decomposing and absorbing the organic material in which they grow. Think of the ‘Pods’ from ‘Invasion of the Body Snatchers’. OK, maybe not to that extreme but it does hint at one of Fungi’s more pervasive attributes of proliferation which we will cover shortly. Fungus is comprised of several genii of different species such as Mushroom, Molds, Mildew, Smuts, Rusts, and Yeasts. Fungus itself is considered to be of the kingdom Plantae. As we learned in our high school science class that eukaryotic means …“any organism having as its fundamental structural unit a cell type that contains a specialized organelles in the cytoplasm, a membrane-bound nucleus enclosing genetic material organized into chromosomes and an elaborate system of division by mitosis or meiosis, characteristic of all life forms except bacteria and blue-green algae and other primitive micro-organisms” so I know I won’t need to spend time explaining the definition so we can tackle more of the interesting concepts that lay before us. To refresh your memory of what you learned in your science lab, mitosis is the usual method of cell division and meiosis is the process of gamete formation, consisting of chromosome conjugation and a two cell division. After all, gamete formation is something we live with every day and should all be used to by now. As you have already learned, Mold and Mildew have been mentioned as being a part of the Fungi family and Fungus as a whole is not only a family but a royal one belonging to a kingdom. Now that’s impressive.

Now let’s move on to gaining a deeper understanding of Algae. I can sense your excitement about this and I totally understand. Algae is something of a horse of a different color and is defined as “any numerous groups of chlorophyll containing mainly aquatic eukaryotic organisms ranging from microscopic single-celled forms to multi-cellular forms that are able to grow 100 feet or more, this growth is distinguished from plants by the absence of having roots, stems, and leaves as they are defined and by a lack of nonproductive cells in the reproductive structures: Classified into six phyla Euglenophyta, Crysophyta, Pyrrophyta, Chlorophyta , Phaeophyta and Rhodophyta.” Did you notice there is no kingdom for this horse? The singular pronouncement is Alga. Alga is a latin word meaning ‘Seaweed’ and this meaning is retained in its’ translation so if you know your latin, then this is something you already knew so go to the head of the class. Now the next time you are in a Chinese restaurant and they serve you up a bowl of seaweed soup, be sure to ask for a side of Alga. You will be the life of the party.

Now do I really need to define Slime? What would any meaningful discussion be without it? Slime is defined as that gelatinous goo that shows up in the best creature feature and “is composed of a thin, glutinous mud, or any ropy (that being stringy) or viscous liquid matter or a viscous secretion of animal or vegetable origin.” Let’s face it, what would a jaw retracting space alien be without slime?

So now it is understood that there is a big difference in Fungus and Algae and both mold and mildew are related in a fuzzy, smelly, unwanted growth kind of way. Not unlike reality TV, only more interesting and includes slime as one of the main characters, although now it’s seems, slime, which can be found on fungus and algae may be considered a byproduct and not its own species.

Alas we have opened the proverbial “hood” so it’s timefor us to continue to dig a little deeper into the the fungus side of things. Beginning with the infamous and ever present Mold, “a growth of minute fungi forming on vegetable or animal matter (aka, organic), and usually appears as a downy or furry coating, and requires decay or dampness. ” The proper English spelling is written as mould and we all know the English are funny that way. With Mildew the difference gets to be a little more fuzzy in more ways then one. Defined as “a disease of plants, characterized by a cottony, usually whitish coating on the surface of affected parts, caused by any of various fungi, aka mold, and can include any discolorations which appear on fabrics, paper, leather, ect. When…and this is most important…exposed to moisture. ” Emphasis added and you may now consider yourself enlightened. But wait, it gets even better!…again…just kidding.

Molds include all species of microscopic fungi that grow in the form of multi-cellular filaments called hyphae. This is unlike another fungi that grow as a single cell which are commonly called yeast. The hypae form a connected network of tubular branches, it has DNA and is considered a single organism referred to as a colony or in more technical terms a mycelium. Molds do not form a specific taxonomic or phylogenetic grouping, but can be found in the divisions Zygomycota, Deureromycota and Ascomycota. I often tell people I am phylogenetic just to see the worried look on their faces. Then I cough and watch the fun unravel.

Although some molds can cause disease, three species have been singled out by the CDC to have this evil superpower. Now there are other types of Fungus that can cause health issues as well, but for now we will concentrate on the Mold part of the kingdom. Some molds can cause food spoilage and others are actually useful in bio-degrading or in producing edible food products, beverages, antibiotic, and enzymes. There are thousands of known varieties of mold and their primary energy source is organic matter which is broken down by enzymes released from the mycelia (you know, the hyphae) into simple compounds decomposing organic matter enabling decay and rot necessary in all eco systems (that’s were the bio-degradable properties kick in). The enzymes and ‘mycotoxins’ that are a byproduct of this breakdown process can also prevent or compete with other molds and micro-organisms making them competitive for territory and will keep other mold types or plants from growing. In the case of Black Mold, it is these ‘mycotoxins’ that can cause harm to human health. Molds do not require or need sunlight to receive energy, another thing that distinguishes this from other plant species.

Now for a word of warning for the more sensitive reader’s, the next portion of this lesson discusses the reproductive characteristics of our topic and we will be getting all up in to the private lives of mold so it is permissible for those who are sensitive to close your eyes during this portion of our study.

Mold reproduces asexually through small spores, which can remain airborne indefinitely. Spores are hardy little buggers and can survive in the most extreme environments. Some mold can even grow at temperature lows such as 2 degrees Celsius. When conditions do not promote mold growth, (even though an environment that is only 2 degrees Celsius does not seem to very promotional for growth), molds can remain alive but in a dormant state for a very long time in the harshest conditions. This is how mold growth can suddenly appear inside building structures long after the building was completed. Moving air is not conducive to mold growth since this tends to cause a lower humidity. Remember, moisture is key here. Since mold must grow on organic matter, their presence is only visible to the naked eye where conditions have allowed colonies to grow and proliferate. Molds come in a variety of colors but gray, green, white and black are the most common and it is important to note that color does not define any one species. Black Mold does not necessarily have to be black to be Black Mold, a common mistake.

If you should toxic have mold ever present in your home then try to get rid of it right away. It is vital that you clean the affected area and throw away any contaminated materials. If there are large areas in your home that are affected, it is recommended you consider a mold remediation service as soon as possible because the longer it grows the more damage it can cause and the more money it will devour. Since mold can be a serious health issue it is also a good idea to know if the growth in your house is toxic or more specifically, ‘mycotoxic’.

It is for this reason AdVnt Biotechnologies LLC, has developed a way to test mold growth with a simple do it yourself test that can be done in the privacy of your home and will reveal if the type of mold growth infesting your home can bring harm to yourself and your family. The INFORMANT 15-Minute Black Mold Detection Test can show results in as little as 3 to 15 minutes after introducing the collected mold sample to the test. Remember, for mold to reach toxic levels it has to come to a stage in its growth cycle that will allow it to release mycotoxin’s through the process of decay as it eats at whatever organic material it is consuming. In homes this can be anything from the papers located on the drywall, wood frames used to fortify walls, carpet, clothing, leather goods, discarded debris in a basement, the list is endless. AdVnt’s ‘INFORMANT 15-Minute Black Mold Detection Test was created using the same advanced bio-technologies being deployed by first responders around the world to detect bio-warfare agents such as Anthrax, Ricin, Botulinum and Plague. Using the same science of applying active antibodies and antigens as genetic markers, AdVnt’s patented technology is designed to react specifically to the target species of black mold as mentioned earlier to be hazardous to human health as determined by the CDC. AdVnt’s INFORMANT 15-Minute Black Mold Detection Test can detect the most minute samples of Stachybotrys, Penicillium and its close cousin Aspergillius.

There is one last subject that we should tackle before dismissing class. Aflatoxin. This toxin is any various related mycotoxins produced by Aspergillus and is suspected of causing liver cancer in humans and other animals. That is the same Aspergillus that can be detected with the INFORMANT 15-Minute Black Mold Detection Test.

The INFORMANT is sold only online from AdVnt Biotechnologie’s website at www.advnt.org. The advantage to using our INFORMANT 15-Minute Black Mold Detection Test means you will know that if your tests show positive for either of these three species that the results will be conclusive and reliable. Since the INFORMANT Uses antigens and antibodies to detect black mold on a genetic level there will be no cross reaction with any other types of mold species or proteins. As an added bonus, each test purchased comes with everything required to run two complete tests.

Plague Victim raises cause for alarm in Asia

It seems like a scene out of the history books. A young man out in the field tending his livestock kills a marmot to cook for his supper and is bitten by a flea that is native to that region. The young herdsman grows deathly ill and is taken to the nearest medical facility where he soon dies. He was only 15 years of age. Healthcare officials tending to the unfortunate male soon discovered the cause of death was Yersinia Pestis (Y.Pestis), also known in the history books as the Bubonic Plague or Black Death. But this story did not come from the history books; in fact this story just happened very recently in the small village located on the border of China and Kyrgyzstan near scenic Issyk-Kul Lake, a popular tourist destination. According to medical officials in the region there were total of 162 people who knew the young shepherd from his village and they had all been placed under close observation and were then given antibiotics as a precaution.

To try to stem fears of a major outbreak similar to that of the Black Death from the middle ages, doctors had sent more than 300 medics into the tourist area to offer check-ups and educate the locals on the outbreak. Authorities also set up check points and quarantine zones but insist that there was no cause for alarm. Kyrgyzstan released a statement that the incident “…does not carry any real threat to the epidemiological situation for neighboring countries or residents of Kyrgyzstan”. This has done little to calm the fears of many in the region. Several sports teams from Kazakhstan and Mongolia voiced their concerns about competing in the area and many in the surrounding region were wrongfully informed that the entire country was placed under quarantine causing them to make plans not to attend or cancel any games that were scheduled to be played near the village. Neighboring Russian health official reported that bacterial infection of the strain that once caused the Black Death have been registered in Kazakhstan every year and the disease has been known to occur naturally in parts of the region that encompasses Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Russia. It would seem this statement would do very little in confidence building for tourism for this region.

To date, a international team of Scientific Investigators searching for the cause of the Black Death have been able to trace the earliest cases of Bubonic Plague (Black Death) back to the Asian continent thanks in part to the scientific advances in investigating ancient DNA. There, scientist have been able to build a genetic “family tree” of sorts, going back to a common ancestor some 2,600 years ago originating in mainland China. So it was no coincidence that in 2009, there was report of an outbreak of plague case in the remote town of Ziketan, Qinghai province where a 32 year old male herdsman (that’s right, another herdsman) developed fever and hemoptysis, a condition where blood is coughed up or expelled through coughing. He died en route to the nearest hospital. 11 people who had close contact with him soon developed fever and cough. All tested positive for Plague. A couple of days later two of the 11 who were closely related to the livestock attendant had died as well. Within days authorities had been able to isolate 332 close contacts and kept them under close medical observation, Of the 11 infected who were close to the herdsman 7 were able to recover without incident and two others had experienced more severe symptoms. Chinese authorities immediately implemented traffic controls around the affected regions and experts in disease control and prevention had been dispatched.

It would seem China is no stranger to understanding how important first response is in containing Bio – threat outbreaks. There is no way to truly access how many lives have been spared due to their fast acting and due diligence in being able to identify, control and contain what could have easily have become a horrific globally catastrophic outbreak. Early identification of these threats is the key to prevention and containment. When the added threat of bio-terrorism is brought into play, the idea of a mass outbreak taking out large numbers of the human population presents a serious game change. The need for all countries globally to have preparedness protocols in place in order to contain and eradicate biological threats becomes essential to the overall survival of the human race. If you take into account that mass transit and communication now has all people connected on a global scale, an uncontrolled outbreak in one country could spell serious trouble for other countries not properly prepared to handle uncontrolled biological threats on a massive scale. Factor in that China alone is one of the most densely populated countries on the planet with an estimated 1.352 billion people accounted for in the year 2012, both their need and ability to respond quickly and effectively to a bio-threat is a very admirable feat of engineering and their extraordinary level of preparedness deserves to be commended.

Any biological threat poses a great risk to the world has a whole, even more so than that of Nuclear or Chemical weapons combined. Just how serious can this threat really be? One only has to do the math to see just how serious a risk the world is facing. Take a look at the following estimates on lives lost using just one of these threats …

Dispersal of Chemicals such as Sarin Gas by a single aircraft … 400 – 800 approximate deaths
Recent events in Syria can attest to these numbers.
Dispersal of Anthrax by a single aircraft … 420,000 – 1,400,000 approximate deaths
Hydrogen Bomb 1.0 Megatons TNT equivalent 570,000 – 1,900,000 approximate deaths
Atomic Bomb 12.5 kilotons TNT equivalent approximate deaths 23,000 – 80,000 approximate deaths
Scud Missile carrying 300 kg of Sarin Gas 60 -100
Scud Missile carrying 30 kg Anthrax 30,000 – 100,000

What is not made clear in this report is whether they take into account the spread of a biological agent if it should be able to breach the containment barriers if any, that are setup upon discovery of the initial outbreak. With mass amounts of people traveling throughout the globe by plane, train, ship or car, one person who had become infected can easily infect 20 more individuals who then can infect 20 more. So it becomes very possible for a terrorist in one country trying to harm an enemy in another country to in fact sign their own death warrant as well as those living in their own country simply because they failed to take into consideration the spread of such an outbreak and the possibilities of a containment breach. The World Health Organization estimates the spread of an infectious disease can happen from point to another in less then 36 hours.

Suddenly one herdsman infected with the plague and meeting his demise in what many may assume to be an isolated part of the world takes on a greater significance when viewed from the wide lens of bio-logical threats and bio-terrorism acts. The best arsenal against such threats is simply expecting, planning, and proper preparedness protocols that have been setup well in advance of the terrorist threat. Once these protocols are in place, what could have become a biological Armageddon type event is mercifully turned into a little regarded and soon to be forgotten back page news item. One of the keys to developing and preparing an effective protocol towards bio-threat prevention and planning is having the proper training and tools available that give first responders the ability to rapidly detect with confidence the type of threat being deployed. AdVnt Biotechnologies, LLC is proud to be producers of some of these most highly regarded bio-warfare threat detection systems in the world. Using advanced gene focused detection systems to develop tests that can rapidly detect targeted environmental bio-threats such as Anthrax, Ricin, Botulinum, Plague, SEB and Tularemia in as little as 15 minutes of testing, AdVnt Biotechnologies is proud to state that our tests have become a viable and reliable tool in the war against bio-terrorism. Used globally, AdVnt Biotechnologies BADD and Pro-Strips bio-warfare agent detection tests are easy to use and have been field tested time and time again since 2002.

The other key ingredient to bio-warfare preparedness, training is also essential to the success of any mission. In response to this, AdVnt Biotechnologies has develop an easy to understand system designed for a classroom environment that is outstanding in helping to prepare new recruits in getting the hands on experience helpful in bio-warfare detection out in the field by providing a way to give them hands on preparation in the safety of a classroom setting. Our ATTAK Pro-Strip training system comes with simulated powders and liquids and easy to follow training test to help create a simulated attack allowing new recruits the ability to become mentally and intellectually ready for a real-time, bio-terror event. AdVnt Biotechnologies has been on the frontlines of the fight against bio-terrorism and now has taken our expertise in the bio-threat arena to assist the homeowner with the development of the INFORMANT 15-Minute Black Mold Detection Test. Based on the same technology that made it possible to detect bio-warfare agents, The INFORMANT is designed to quickly and accurately assess another type of bio-threat that can be growing in your own home.

Return of the Black Death

It may sound like a campy title to a old Hammer Film Horror Movie but unfortunately it’s real and it’s more common then you may think.

According to a article posted by Reuters on July 25, a Squirrel was found at the Angeles National Forest in California that was infected with the Plague. This has been the sixth squirrel located in Southern California’s San Gabriel Mountains since 1995 to test positive for the disease.

Authorities have shut down the park for at least a week while they have a chance to dust the burrows for fleas, which carry the bacteria and test more squirrels in the area. The most recent squirrel was trapped on July 16 during a routine check in the park and was confirmed to be carrying the disease on July 23.

Called the “Black Death” in history books due to the disease ravaging the European continent during the Middle Ages. Yersina Pestis (aka Y. Pestis) also known as Plague was responsible for killing more the 25 million people.

There on on average 7 cases a year that are reported in the United States and if discovered within a timely manner can be treated with antibiotics. According to the Center Disease for Control, almost all cases have been found in the Western United States and fortunately at this time none of these cases have been fatal.

Y. Pestis, Anthrax, Botulinum, Staphylococcal enterotoxin B (SEB) and Tularemia along with Ricin Toxin among others are currently under the Dept. of Homeland Security radar since they are all good candidates for being developed into a weapon that can be used by terrorist. As a result several protocols have been put into place to rapidly detect and deter such a horrific act form happening and putting plans in to play to dramatically minimize the event should one occur.

AdVnt Biotechnologies has been helping First Responders throughout the globe by offering a reliable, rapid and portable solution to the early detection of a bio-terror event with our line of BADD Single Agent Detection Test and Pro-Strip Rapid Screening System. Thanks to advancements in the area of Immunoassay Bio-Technology, Safety Professionals responding to a Bio-Terror threat event will have the tools they need to rapidly and accurately detect if the suspected agent involved is real emergency or a badly planned hoax, allowing them to put into place all the necessary safeguards that will be needed in order to contain and control such an event.

 

Hurricane recovery and the added dangers of black mold

In the short time that Hurricane Sandy flooded out many of the homes along the east coast. Sandy survivors were confronted with a multitude of serious issues such as low temperatures, damage to their homes and many other obstacles that is making recovery efforts a major uphill battle. One major issue many of them are being forced to contend with is rapid mold growth in their homes.

The health department states that they are closely monitoring emergency room visits and the hospitalization of those who are suffering respiratory illnesses as a key to determine if the threat of mold infestation is serious enough to warrant aggressive recovery action but is willing to admit there are no set guidelines to follow in the case of evacuating a region hard hit by mold infestation.

It’s important to understand mold reproduction starts when mature mold growth releases spores into the atmosphere. These spores are suspended in the air and are a part of the natural are we breathe on a daily basis and are the common cause of many of the allergies. Local weather stations will often include a mold count on their daily broadcast. The higher the number, the more likely there will be allergy sufferers.

Removing mold spores from any structure is almost impossible to control since the air outside will always find a way to get inside. Air conditioning filters and air purifiers can dramatically reduce the mold count in the environment; however it is almost impossible to completely be mold free.

The big problems with mold inside a building begin with water. Any area inside a structure that is always damp or has standing water is a prime setting for mold spores to collect and proliferate. Once mold spores locate a water source they will settle in and begin to grow. Mold growth can be very rapid in prime conditions therefore it is important at this stage to remove the mold infestation and dry out the infected area and most importantly, remove or bring under control the source of water that allowed the mold to grow. Without removing the source of water, mold will most certainly return.

Since last year, there are about 75,000 scientifically identifiable species of mold with a projection that there may be as many as 1 million fungal species that have yet to be identified. Not all mold species are harmful. Some are even beneficial such as those varieties that produce truffles and the various types that produce edible mushrooms. There is even a species of mold that has been proven capable of devouring toxic petroleum products and leaving behind a completely safe, environmentally friendly growth in its place. It use is currently being considered as a go to answer for cleaning oil spills. Some companies are even looking at mold to produce products such as toilet paper. Go figure.

Identification of a mold species is mostly dependent on costly DNA testing. AdVnt Biotechnologies as developed a black mold test that uses the genetic identifiers of black mold species to help identify toxic black mold from most common mold infestations. The INFORMANT 15-minute black mold test uses licensed antibodies to positively tag black mold spores for positive identification, therefore making sure that it does not show a positive result for more common mold varieties.

Toxic black mold is a species of mold, that if allowed to proliferate can produce a toxic substance known as mycotoxin. It is this substance derived from black mold growth that has been shown to be fatal to humans, especially those who suffer with compromised immune systems. There are to date, 3 known species that are known to produce this toxicity and can become a serious health hazard if left unchecked. Stachybotrys, Aspergillius and its close cousin Penicillium are the three species known to produce mycotoxins. The second requirement for mold growth is oxygen. Where conditions for mold growth are ripe, mycotoxins are produced as the mold expands and spreads into colonies releasing the toxic byproduct into the air. It is import to understand that mycotoxins as a result of growth of black mold is viewed differently than those cases of mycotoxins exposure that causes harm through the ingestion of misidentified mushrooms. In the case of toxicity to humans through mold growth, the victim is often not aware of the hazard until it causes some harm.

AdVnt Biotechnologies INFORMANT 15-Minute black mold detection test was specifically designed to test mold growth found in homes for this highly dangerous species. Each test kit with the items required to run two complete tests. The easy to follow step by step instruction sheet allows users to quickly identify if the mold growth in their homes is of the toxic variety. Waiting days for lab results is now a thing of the past. The INFORMANT 15-Minute black mold detection test can be purchased from our website at www.advnt.org. The INFORMANT Black Mold Detection Test is not available in stores.

The serious issues of black mold growth in the regions hit by hurricane Sandy are not ones to be taken with a grain of salt. Identifying and removing mold infestations are often tied in with a homeowners struggle to obtain the necessary funding in order to properly eradicate the infestation. The longer it takes for relief funding the more serious the situation can become. Complicated paperwork to get federal relief and slow moving insurers and politicians on the take is just a few of the many hurdles the victims of this tragic event will have to face in order to win back their homes and their peace of mind.

After ten years anthrax is still a threat

 

 

Despite the passage of ten years, the threat of an anthrax, or similar attempt of bioterrorism still looms large over the United States. Stringent security measures are in place to scan the US mail systems. Since September 2001 when these bioterrorism attacks started, the postal authorities have responded to around 52,000 calls concerning suspicious mails. The US Postal Inspectors office has implemented the best detection technologies available in today’s marketplace. One of the threat detectors used by the US Postal Inspectors Office is Advnt’s Pro Strip Rapid Detection System.

The US authorities are making no compromise over such threats and anyone taking it light has to face imprisonment under the same charges. Likewise Jay Stuart DeVaughn, who wrote 26 letters to President Obama and others inscribed with “Take a whiff of this”, landed him in jail for six-year imprisonment. Again, Advnt’s Pro Strip is a product utilized by the US Secret Service, due to it’s unique operating capabilities, the ease of use, sensitivity and specificity make it a must have for “pointy-end-of-the-sword” assets that guard the most prized targets.

Though the white powder inside the letters later proved to be a coffee sweetener and no one was harmed, the event raised suspicions of being an Anthrax-like attack, of which now hundreds occur every year in this country. In 2001-02, the multiple attacks of anthrax delivered in letters killed fifteen people and injured many others and illuminated the inherent security weaknesses of the mail industry.

Most American’s have forgotten the entire issue. Perhaps incidents like that of DeVaughn may help bring the anthrax and bioterrorism case back into the news. I’ve found that the US media purposefully does not report about the hundreds of false threats that occur each year in America.

As per revised security parameters, the postal system now depends on both manual checks as well as machine screenings. The postal inspectors receive multiple calls daily on postal security with the majority of them being false alarms. Regardless, such calls show that anthrax threats are still at the top of the preparedness chain requiring utilization of state-of-the-art, instantaneous bio-threat screening systems like Advnt’s Pro Strip Rapid Screening System.

Historically anthrax has been used as a deadly weapon for centuries. Biological and chemical agents have been used throughout history. Individuals, as well as organized groups, use these naturally occurring agents to attempt murder. Just 60 years ago a woman was arrested in 1952 after she mailed a box full of cyanide-laced Bon Caramels to her estranged husband who was doubtful of it and called the legal authorities.

Another horrid mail related crime involved Theodore Kaczynski who killed three people and injured 23 over 15 years by sending mail bombs. He was finally arrested in the mid 90’s. A few years ago, inspectors arrested a West Virginia man for mailing an improvised explosive device to a former neighbor in Minnesota. He’s serving 2½ years in prison.

Bottom line appears to be that living in an open and free society is fraught with many security leaks. Organized groups and sick individuals will always have ample opportunity to strike with deadly agents to attempt pre-meditated murder on an individual or communities of people who are un-suspecting of the threat.

The Economics of Black Mold

AdVnt Biotechnologies LLC, the first company to design a rapid Bio-Warfare detection device that can run 5 test from one sample, decided that the next project they would develop should be one that hits close to home. Not just close to home but actually in the home or office and with good reason. With the highest foreclosure rate in American history showing no sign of slowing down while the mortgage of many houses are costing more then the property is worth. The current economic crisis is taking a horrendous toll on both the homeowner and business owner. The very last thing a concerned homeowner wants to hear about during these uncertain times is an economic threat that could be growing behind the walls or floorboards of their biggest investment. Unfortunately for those residences that live in regions that have had high water and moisture accumulations or flooding this past year, mold growth and it’s economic impact is a very real concern. So when AdVnt Biotechnologies LLC was looking for the next big biological threat to US citizens, the decision to research and develop a product to add to their catalog of Bio-Threat Detection Tests was a no-brainer. AdVnt Biotechnologies set out to design a low-cost device that could accurately detect the dangerous black mold species responsible for costly damages to both health and hearth. Their efforts paid off and now AdVnt Biotechnologies is proud to announce it’s successfull new black mold detection device… “The Informant 15-Minute Black Mold Detection Test”.

Since there are over 100,000 + species of mold and scientist are always finding more new species, there is no getting away from mold. It is just as much a part of the world we live in as the air we breathe, the ground we stand on and the water we drink. Mold is everywhere, but when mold enters a home under the right conditions, the only course of action is to take action before things get out of control. Like the old Benjamin Franklin quote goes…”Time is money… and when it comes to mold growth in a home, there simply is no other statement that sums it up best.

Mold enters a home as microscopic spores that are most generally carried by airflow. Once these spores find the perfect condition such as high humidity, water, moisture, oxygen and a food supply the spores starts to thrive, grow and reproduce until they become more then a common nuisance. Festering and feeding themselves on the materials that makes up the very structure of a home or office, such as wood, drywall, leather goods, food, ect … Once these intruders take root, the mold spores then grow until they become an economic liability with horrific long-term financial consequences. Not unlike the deregulation of our banking system during the greed rush of the 90’s that set the stage for the eventual crisis we are all now having to confront. Mold spores like Enron, Maddoff, and those shifty real estate investments conspire to eat away at your hard earned investments without giving you the slightest clue to the amount of damage that is being done to your health and welfare. A black mold infestation left untreated in a home or business can have a staggering impact on the building infrastructure resulting in expensive mold remediation bills and extremely high medical cost to those unlucky enough to be living or working within the structure.

When mold is left untreated, it becomes unsightly, smelly and in the case of three types of species, hazardous to your health. This type is known as Black Mold. The staggering economic losses that come from a severe black mold infestation ranges from decreasing the value of your home and rising medical cost for the treatment of symptoms such as allergies, asthma, bronchitis, respiratory infections, migraines, and in the case of those who live with immune challenged systems, long-term damage to their health or even death. Structural damage to buildings that require mold remediation can be as little as a simple clean-up to having the entire building demolished.

The Center for Disease Control as determined that of the 100,000 known species of mold, three qualify for causing hazardous health problems for humans. Penicillium , Aspergillus and Stachybotris. These three species are capable of producing Mycotoxins, a type of metabolite that can be poison to some species but not to others. The type of mycoxins produced depends on the type of species produces it. It is the effects of these mycotoxins that the Center of Disease Control was able to narrow down the mold threat to humans to just three species.

Thanks to a device like the “Informant 15-Minute Black Mold Detection Device”, Accurate early detection of black mold infestations can now be done for a low cost and in the privacy of your home or office. Once the mold spores are collected with our easy to use sample collection kit, you will know in as little as three to 15-minutes if you have active, dangerous mold spores. With this information you will have the evidence you need in making the decision to contact your insurance broker or a qualified mold remediation specialist. Saving both time and money. The long-term savings in protecting yourself, your family and the value of your home will more then pay for itself.

After ten years anthrax is still a threat

Despite the passage of ten years, the threat of an anthrax, or similar attempt of bioterrorism still looms large over the United States. Stringent security measures are in place to scan the US mail systems. Since September 2001 when these bioterrorism attacks started, the postal authorities have responded to around 52,000 calls concerning suspicious mails. The US Postal Inspectors office has implemented the best detection technologies available in today’s marketplace. One of the threat detectors used by the US Postal Inspectors Office is Advnt’s Pro Strip Rapid Detection System.

The US authorities are making no compromise over such threats and anyone taking it light has to face imprisonment under the same charges. Likewise Jay Stuart DeVaughn, who wrote 26 letters to President Obama and others inscribed with “Take a whiff of this”, landed him in jail for six-year imprisonment. Again, Advnt’s Pro Strip is a product utilized by the US Secret Service, due to it’s unique operating capabilities, the ease of use, sensitivity and specificity make it a must have for “pointy-end-of-the-sword” assets that guard the most prized targets.

Though the white powder inside the letters later proved to be a coffee sweetener and no one was harmed, the event raised suspicions of being an Anthrax-like attack, of which now hundreds occur every year in this country. In 2001-02, the multiple attacks of anthrax delivered in letters killed fifteen people and injured many others and illuminated the inherent security weaknesses of the mail industry.
Most American’s have forgotten the entire issue. Perhaps incidents like that of DeVaughn may help bring the anthrax and bioterrorism case back into the news. I’ve found that the US media purposefully does not report about the hundreds of false threats that occur each year in America.

As per revised security parameters, the postal system now depends on both manual checks as well as machine screenings. The postal inspectors receive multiple calls daily on postal security with the majority of them being false alarms. Regardless, such calls show that anthrax threats are still at the top of the preparedness chain requiring utilization of state-of-the-art, instantaneous bio-threat screening systems like Advnt’s Pro Strip Rapid Screening System.

Historically anthrax has been used as a deadly weapon for centuries. Biological and chemical agents have been used throughout history. Individuals, as well as organized groups, use these naturally occurring agents to attempt murder. Just 60 years ago a woman was arrested in 1952 after she mailed a box full of cyanide-laced Bon Caramels to her estranged husband who was doubtful of it and called the legal authorities.

Another horrid mail related crime involved Theodore Kaczynski who killed three people and injured 23 over 15 years by sending mail bombs. He was finally arrested in the mid 90’s. A few years ago, inspectors arrested a West Virginia man for mailing an improvised explosive device to a former neighbor in Minnesota. He’s serving 2½ years in prison.

Bottom line appears to be that living in an open and free society is fraught with many security leaks. Organized groups and sick individuals will always have ample opportunity to strike with deadly agents to attempt pre-meditated murder on an individual or communities of people who are un-suspecting of the threat.

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Anthrax Vaccine for Children?

A recent article published in the Homeland Security Newswire Oct 26,2011 titled “Government considers testing anthrax vaccine on children” discusses the issues currently being considered by the US Government for inoculating children for Anthrax. While the vaccine has been administered to adults with no ill effects to date. The question about the safety of vaccinating children has raised some serious questions. How is it justifiable to vaccinate children for Anthrax with a new untested drug when there is no immediate danger of anthrax present? The more rational answer of course is it’s better to test the drug now then to wait when there is a full blown emergency and find out only then whether or not the vaccine is safe for children.

The article does not go into detail about how well the vaccine was received by the adults (mostly military personnel serving in Iraq and Afghanistan) or list any ill side-effects. Nor does the article explain where the US Government plans to locate these parents who will be willing to subject their children to a untested vaccine for a serious life threatening disease. Especially for a threat they may never come into contact with in their lifetime. Since this is an issue of proper preparedness there might be other options to consider. Companies like AdVnt Biotechnologies LLC, now provide early detection test for anthrax and now it is possible get results to show in as little as 3 to 15 minutes. Early detection of exposure will noramlly allow plenty of time for proper medical attention. But how much more prepared can we be through the use of vaccinations and more important, how safe can we make our children?

On the surface it seems that maybe the US Government is acting a bit hasty in getting this new vaccine to the general populace. It is important to remember in the framework of Domestic Preparedness, the argument can seem rational when confronted with the day to day possibility that at any time one person acting alone or in concert with others can create a bio-terror crisis by releasing weaponized anthrax or other harmful bio-agents into a heavily populated area. Therefore, being able to conceive of a plan to prepare a nation of fully vaccinated bystanders could go along way to contain the spread of such a threat if such an bio-terrorist event such as the release of anthrax were to occur. So we also have to take into consideration, what are the chances going to be of this event happening in or around our children?

To get a better understanding of this discussion, it might be a good idea to take a moment to step back and reacquaint ourselves with anthrax and why it has become one of the most notorious bad boys in the bio-threat arena. The Center of Disease Control has listed Anthrax as a class A agent meaning it poses a hazard to human health and is able to affect large population and requires a great deal of planning to control

Anthrax comes from the bacteria Bacillus anthracis and is able to spread through spore growth. Anthrax infection can be introduced through three manifestations, cutaneous (skin), inhalation, and gastrointestinal. The most common mode of Anthrax infection is cutaneous, which can enter the body though cuts or abrasions on skin. Anthrax can contaminate animal hides such as wool, hair products and leather goods from infected animals. It is also known for it’s ability to lay dormant in the ground or in the environment for extremely long periods of time. The symptoms of anthrax depends on the manner in which it is delivered to your system. If it is through the skin, symptoms include raised itchy bumps that resembles insect bites but within 1-2 days develops into a vesicle and then a painless ulcer, usually 1-3 cm in diameter, with a characteristic black necrotic (dying) area in the center accompanied by swollen Lymph glands near the adjacent area. Deaths are rare if treated with the appropriate antimicrobial therapy.

The second manifestation of anthrax is gastrointestinal and most likely to come from contaminated meat. Incidents of death through gastrointestinal contact is usually very high. Infections through gastrointestinal anthrax is an acute inflammation of the intestinal tract. Initial signs of nausea, loss of appetite, vomiting, and fever are followed by abdominal pain, vomiting of blood, and severe diarrhea. Cases of gastrointestinal anthrax is higher then skin infection.

Anthrax can also be transmitted through inhalation. This method of infection presents the most serious threat to humans. Inhalation of anthrax resembles a common cold or flu like symptoms accompanied by a sore throat, mild fever, muscle aches with weakness and lightheadedness. Because of the familiar flu like symptoms, anthrax can infections can often be overlooked as a possible cause of infection for several days until the symptoms progress to severe breathing problems and toxic shock. The inhalation of anthrax is usually fatal.

Once the forensic details of the anthrax threats are laid out, it is easy to see why the development of a anthrax vaccine and it’s application has become a matter of concern for the US Government in designing a preparedness plan in case of a bio-terrorist anthrax attack. The risk of vaccinating children with a yet unproven drug seems pale in comparison with the harsh reality of what those children could be facing should they ever come into contact with weaponized anthrax. Imagine how parents felt when confronted with the choice of inoculating their children with the then unproven polio vaccine when they were confronted with the very real possibility of seeing their children infected with polio.

If the thought of you or your children getting vaccinated may seem irrational it is important to keep in mind that this controversial topic falls within the framework of Domestic Preparedness. Since 2006 AdVnt Biotechnologies LLC has been actively on the forefront of Bio-Warfare Detection, working actively within this framework and has a proven track record of success in bio-warfare detection world wide. AdVnt Biotechnologies has been awarded with the “Support Anti-Terrorism by Fostering Effective Technologies Act of 2002 ( SAFETY ACT)“ Cerificate of Conformance and both AdVnt Biotechnologie’s BADD Anthrax Detection Test and Pro-Strip Multi-Agent Detection Test have been used around the global by first responders to rapidly detect the prescience of anthrax and other serious bio-threats targeted by bio-terrorist. Proven to reliably detect anthrax spores down to 1.55 – 1.6 x104FU/ml (Less than an infectious dose and not visible to the human eye), in as little as 15 minutes or less. AdVnt Biotechnologies rapid, reliable hand held assays have raised the bar in bio-detection standards.

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FBI Investigates Newest Anthrax Inhalation Exposure Case in US.

Government health officials have investigated a case of anthrax exposure after tests confirmed that a hospitalized individual had been infected with the dangerous bacteria; due to the deadly nature of anthrax and its feared use as a biological weapon back in 2001-02, the FBI joined Minnesota health officials in the investigation.

At least fourteen people died in 2002 in the last instances of undeniable anthrax terrorism in the USA.

Officials have concluded that the hospitalized individual became infected naturally after encountering the “non-weaponized” bacteria during his travels. The individual had travelled through several western states before becoming admitted for treatment in Minnesota.

An epidemiologist with the state, concluded that “Evidence points to this case of anthrax being caused by exposure to naturally occurring anthrax in the environment.”

What kind of a generalized, non-descriptive statement is this? Yes, it seems re-assuring in some sense, however, if the hearer had any understanding of how difficult this in fact is to occur, that being inhalation infection, you would be scratching your head, as we are.

I suppose this statement is made in hopes of assuring us that this was not a successful domestic terrorist attack utilizing highly concentrated weaponized anthrax. In such an instance there would be a large amount of suspicious white powder and some broadcast by a radicalized group taking responsibility for the terror evoking event.

In this instance, the individual had been exposed to soil and animal remains where the anthrax bacteria can easily be grown. The bacteria is known to develop in hooved animal carcasses each year in certain areas around the world.

The FBI determined that there was no evidence to suggest that the individual was infected as part of a criminal or terrorist act and the agency is no longer actively investigating the incident.

Health officials were careful to note that the public need not worry about potential anthrax exposure as these cases are extremely rare, unless you come in contact with the infectious source.

Health officials stressed that the case does not represent an increased risk of anthrax for the public. “Anthrax is not spread from person to person, and it is extremely rare for humans to become sickened with anthrax, especially through inhalation,” an official reported.

Only in rare cases do individuals become infected with anthrax by handling infected animal carcasses or ingest contaminated soil or meat from infected animals. People can also become infected by handling contaminated wool or hides from infected animals.

If this un-suspecting victim would have known about the world’s most effective hand-held anthrax detection device, AdVnt Biotechnologies’ “BADD” Anthrax environmental detection screening device, they would have known in less than fifteen (15) minutes that they were exposed to an infectious dose of the deadly bacteria. They could have saved their own life!

So consider, for your own personal safety and security, if you are going to be placed in harm’s way maybe being prepared and ready to screen for this deadly bacteria or a deadly toxin, like Botulinum or Ricin the technology exists today for less than $300. USD.

For a clear and concise understanding of the significance of this one event, I would draw attention to an article of some importance. “Pathogenic Ecology: Where have all the pathogens gone? Anthrax: A Classic Case.”

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