View Full Version : Insect-borne disesases spreading slowly in France

2nd May 2012, 08:20
Just read in the paper today about the slow spread of the tiger mosquito up through France from the Mediterranean. This little bastard carries dengue fever ( anything to do with you , Dude ? ) and chukwumanga ( or similar - prizes for best rendition ).

Preventative measures as for mosquitos i.e. get rid of stagnant water.

Anybody with experience in this kind of field care to say whether this is a PR exercise to calm fears for a few years or if it can really work ?

What happened after that outbreak of West Nile Fever in New York a few years ago ? Were they able to wipe out the insects or is it still happening ?

green granite
2nd May 2012, 08:53
Best defence is to spray their breeding grounds with DDT, if the watermelons hadn't managed to get it banned then Malaria and dengue fever would be a thing of the past. It's also the run up to Rio +20 so the greens are trying to frighten people so they get lots of support.

The real question is is the report backed up by an increase in cases of dengue fever in France?

Lon More
2nd May 2012, 09:10
Googoo "dengue fever france" . Most reports seem to date from September 2010.

2nd May 2012, 10:04
if the watermelons hadn't managed to get it banned then Malaria and dengue fever would be a thing of the past.

by which, then third world countries would have huge population increases and the cost of aid to 'developed' countries would have increased exponentially and the resultant civil wars would have increased as would international insecurity as those who hate the developed countries, but readily accept their dime would also have increased, as blaming internal failure on other countries assistance is the usual recourse.

perhaps the failure of the watermelons sometimes has unintended advantages. only sometimes though.

2nd May 2012, 10:05
Why isn't KAG here blaming the Brits? ;)

2nd May 2012, 10:07
Why isn't KAG here blaming the Brits? http://images.ibsrv.net/ibsrv/res/src:www.pprune.org/get/images/smilies/wink2.gif

FFS Magnus! i've just spat tea over my keyboard.


2nd May 2012, 10:08
Last September I was bitten by mosquitoes in Provence - at Mougins, in fact. Fortunately, I got home before the 5 days of fever, severe sore throat and permanently swollen lymph gland started. Which led to a rapid hospital referral in case the swollen lymph gland was a sign of soemthing more serious.

So yes, the little flying wotsits can be VERY nasty in the south of France.

2nd May 2012, 11:14
DDT is not the magic bullet some think that it is. Many pests had already developed DDT resistance during the time that it was still approved for use so that simply using DDT will not cause the mosquitoes to vanish.

It's that 'science' thing again, you see, but biology this time. There's often a small percentage of a population that has resistance to something. When we wipe out vulnerable pests then the naturally resistant ones survive to breed. Then whatever we are using as a pesticide becomes ineffective.

The appearance of resistance is the reason chloroquine isn't any use against malaria, for instance; we have managed to breed chloroquine-resistant malaria!

It would be nice if it were just a matter of deploying some magic potion those wicked Commies have denied us, but it's just not that simple. Anyone who cares a bit about nature, particularly predatory birds, must be aware of the damage that DDT caused during the time it was heavily used. Just read Silent Spring by Rachel Carson if you are not aware of why DDT was banned.

It is not the KGB or the 'Watermelons' who are at work here, but scientists, those mysterious villains in white coats who always seem to come bearing bad news about our happiest fantasy, the way that Man can over-rule Nature. Nature always seems to be able to reassert itself, so that we now know that many of our 'magic bullets' have lost their power: DDT, chloroquine, penicillin....

2nd May 2012, 11:58
I think we have got rid of smallpox, are on the way to getting rid of polio and perhaps even diptheria.

2nd May 2012, 12:09
It would be nice if it were just a matter of deploying some magic potion those wicked Commies have denied us, but it's just not that simple. Anyone who cares a bit about nature, particularly predatory birds, must be aware of the damage that DDT caused during the time it was heavily used. Just read Silent Spring by Rachel Carson if you are not aware of why DDT was banned.

The Lies of Rachel Carson (http://www.21stcenturysciencetech.com/articles/summ02/Carson.html)

2nd May 2012, 12:43
DDT is not the magic bullet some think that it is

Well put Chucks!

May not be true for all diseases bourne by mosquitos, but W.Nile virus seems destined to become endemic in N.Hemisphere areas where it has recently become active.

Most of the classic killer diseases that have plagued humanity exist in reservoirs within isolated human, animal and bug populations scattered about the planet.

When climate patterns shift, the carriers go on the march, or take to the wind, and the result is perceived as an invasion in areas which have no recent active history of same. In fact, though, little is new under the sun. Between rodents, birds, fish, and bugs, most of the planet has shared most of the pathogens at one time or another.

I often visit areas in N. America where a rogues gallery of odd and generally rare diseases are on offer in the wild population. Contact with humans there is limited, so cases are rare, but include such old favorites as rabies and bubonic plague, hanta-virus, w.nile virus, & a string of others too long and scary to contemplate. Similar situations are to be found all over the world, with resistance and/or vaccination for the scary ones hard to obtain or unlikely to be reliable.

It's a tough world!

2nd May 2012, 13:13
I was bitten by a mosquito once in Africa.

It died of alcoholic poisoning. Serves it right.

2nd May 2012, 14:08
Dealing with skeeters.


tony draper
2nd May 2012, 14:27
We used to call the Pox the French Disease and in retaliation they used to call it the English Disease.
Personally I blame the Dutch.
In fact it was the Spanish, they brought potatoes tobacco and syphilis back from the New World,so giving the matter some thought we should really blame the Americans.

2nd May 2012, 14:37
we should really blame the Americans.

We're we even here yet?

2nd May 2012, 14:45
Drink Tiger beer. It contains fourteen known poisons of which at least three repel mossies. I should know. I did years in Borneo, Singas and Malaya without being touched. All the others drinking Anchor, San Mig and other beers suffered terribly.

Solid Rust Twotter
2nd May 2012, 15:12
Might be better to go with what the mozzies throw at you than risk the permanent orange Afro and glowing in the dark from Tiger beer.:ooh:

Vile stuff...

2nd May 2012, 15:21
It's quite noticeable that ospreys and eagles are now common on the U.S. East Coast when, not so long ago, they were rare. The cause cited in Silent Spring for their decline was the accumulation of DDT in adult birds which led to their eggs being too fragile. Empirical evidence leads one to couple the ban on DDT with the resurgence of our large birds of prey population.

There seems to be the usual disconnect there between 'lies' on the one hand and 'inaccuracies' on the other in that link. I don't think it's so that Rachel Carson got it mostly wrong or mostly lied. In fact, it seems that she got it mostly right. It depends, of course, on how you look at the 'big picture.' My white might be someone else's black, or perhaps just Green outside and Red inside!

The latest controversy is whether or not to use genetically modified corn (maize) that is resistant to 'Roundup.' That's a great idea, except that research suggests that genes can 'jump' from one species to another, so that we may end up with either 'Roundup' resistant weeds in that way, or else simply by killing off all but the resistant weeds which will then propagate. The real problem might be with monoculture.

There's a sort of resistance in too many of us to taking the long view, to understanding that life is complicated. We demand quick answers, a magic pill or potion that will keep us at the top of the food chain, even though Nature simply doesn't work that way. It's not that we should all live in trees and wear clothing made of bark, but it might be good to cultivate a proper understanding of science that allows one to understand what goes on in the world around us, what we really mean by 'the web of life.'

Where did the world 'malaria' come from? What happened when the Pontine Marshes were drained? Check those two out, if you don't already know the answers. Today's news is 'old news' to some degree.

2nd May 2012, 15:25
All true folks. The Tiger Mosquito arrived in Catalunia the year before last and is well esconsced ( sp ?) here by now. It would have crossed the border into France last week, but both sides are doing passport checks at La Jonquera so there might be a slight delay......

they brought potatoes tobacco and syphilis

Haven't seen these on sale in Tescos in Islington yet......well, not all on the same shelf......

2nd May 2012, 15:32
Malaria - History (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malaria#History)

2nd May 2012, 15:48
I guess we can thank our lucky stars that the female anopheles mosquito has not been seen much in France or indeed in Britain for some years now but malaria still remains a threat here.

SCIENCE: MALARIA IN BRITAIN - Arts & Entertainment - The Independent (http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/science-malaria-in-britain-1361345.html)

Between the 16th and 19th centuries malaria, known as the ague, or marsh fever, killed or contributed to the deaths of thousands of people in the marshland villages of coastal southern and eastern England where stagnant pools were a breeding haven for the British estuarine mosquito, Anopheles atroparvus. But why malaria had such an impact perplexes scientists.
The malaria parasites endemic in England were Plasmodium vivax and P malariae, not P falciparum, the tropical strain responsible for the life- threatening form of malaria. The obvious explanation is that the benign forms of malaria were indirectly responsible for deaths of people whose health was compromised by low standards of living. There is also a suspicion that there were more virulent strains of P vivax and P malariae in circulation, but there is little evidence to support this.

What is known is that over the 200 years running up to the mid-nineteenth century, death rates began to fall in the marsh parishes as malaria receded. When it did occur, the disease was less severe than it had been previously. Improved drainage of marshland, better ventilation in houses, and an increase in the size and health of animal herds which provided an alternative blood meal for mosquitoes, were all helpful factors, according to a 1994 paper in the journal Parassitologia CORR by Mary Dobson, senior research fellow at the Wellcome Unit for the History of Medicine in Oxford. Quinine was available to treat marsh fever when it did occurr.

A good friend of mine picked up malaria in Africa and at least once a year he has recurring bouts of debilitating sickness. It is a terrible scourge.


2nd May 2012, 15:59
As for Carson's critics...

However, DDT was never tested as an “agent of death for man.” It was always known to be nonhazardous to humans! Her implication is despicable.
I've never got the impression Carson meant it directly - more like what happens when the toxines build up in the food chain. THAT is not under doubt, is it?

On page 22, Carson adds, “... we know that the average person is storing potentially harmful amounts.” This is totally false!

What an argument.

She is obviously correct about weeds taking something from the soil as every gardener knows by sad experience, but it takes a tremendous stretch of the imagination to suggest that weeds are desirable in fields of crops!
The so-called mono-crops are a recognised problem today, are they not?

But, of course, it could go on like the climate change battle - nothing happens overnight, so who can prove anything...
Although, why would the people working with pesticides wear their protective clothing, if it's all so harmless?
Also, there more horrid things have been done - if it is Carson's fault that DDT wasn't used for fighting malaria for some time. The most influential being medicine, maybe, that weakens the humans as a species - by enabling siblings to specimen who were not meant to have any, and saving lives of those who were meant to go?

2nd May 2012, 17:29
probes, are you having a converstion with yourself?

Are you familiar with how to use the quote function?

2nd May 2012, 17:31
Lonewolf - yes I am. Thought I'd use a little 'blue', as it's from the article linked above. :p

2nd May 2012, 18:02
What an argument.

Page 106. In Lansing, Michigan, a spray program began in l954 against the bark beetles that were transmitting Dutch Elm disease. Carson states “[With local programs for gypsy moth and mosquito control also under way, the rain of chemicals increased to a downpour.” She expresses no concern for the survival of the magnificent elm trees, the dying oak trees, or the torment of people who lived near hordes of blood-sucking mosquitoes, but has tremendous pity for a few birds that had disappeared from the sprayed areas. These positions brought her very little support from the residents.

Carson praises Michigan State University ornithologist George Wallace, who had theorized that robins on the campus were dying because they had eaten earthworms containing DDT from the soil. Many other areas sprayed with DDT did not have dying robins, but Carson studiously avoids mentioning that. Wallace also did not mention the high levels of mercury on the ground and in the earthworms (from soil fungicide treatments on the Michigan campus), even though the symptoms displayed by the dying robins were those attributable to mercury poisoning. Instead, Wallace (and Carson) sought to blame only DDT for the deaths.

The dead birds Wallace sent out for subsequent study were analyzed by a method that detected only “total chlorine content” and could not determine what kind of chlorine was present; none was analyzed for mercury contamination). It was obviously highly irresponsible for Wallace and Carson to jump to the conclusion that the Michigan State University robins were being killed by DDT, and especially for Carson to highlight the false theory in her book long after the truth was evident.

In many feeding experiments birds, including robins, were forced to ingest great quantities of DDT (and its breakdown product, DDE). Wallace did not provide any evidence that indicated the Michigan State University robins may have been killed by those chemicals. Researcher Joseph Hickey at the University of Wisconsin had testified before the Environmental Protection Agency hearings on DDT specifically that he could not kill any robins by overdosing them with DDT because the birds simply passed it through their digestive tract and eliminated it in their feces. Many other feeding experiments by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and various university researchers repeatedly showed that DDT and DDE in the diet could not have killed wild birds under field conditions. If Carson had mentioned these pertinent details it would have devastated her major theme, which continued to be the awful threats posed by DDT to all nonhuman creatures on the face of the Earth. Instead of providing the facts that would clarify such conditions, she spent several more pages on unfounded allegations about DDT and various kinds of birds.

i'm neither pro or anti DDT probes. but i am against propaganda on either side. as previously mentioned, with some sarcasm, if malaria, one of the world's biggest takers of life ( There were an estimated 225 million cases of malaria worldwide in 2009. An estimated 655,000 people died from malaria in 2010, a decrease from the 781,000 who died in 2009 according to the World Health Organization's 2011 World Malaria Report, accounting for 2.23% of deaths worldwide. However, a 2012 meta-study from the University of Washington and University of Queensland estimates that malaria deaths are significantly higher. Published in The Lancet, the study estimates that 1,238,000 people died from malaria in 2010 ) had been eradicated some 40 years ago, that would be another 40million population based on an average of 1m deaths per annum.

that would be an additional 40m population into poverty stricken, third world areas, areas that already suffer from endemic problems, which then raises a whole new set of problems.

2nd May 2012, 18:10
that would be an additional 40m population into poverty stricken, third world areas, areas that already suffer from endemic problems, which then raises a whole new set of problems.

Er..help me out here stuckear. Are you implying that malaria with the huge human toll of sickness, death and misery it creates world wide may in some senses be construed as being beneficial because it mainly kills off "people from poorer countries"? I mean in the way that heart disease that kills off more people in the more affluent West isn't?

I hope I misunderstand you?


2nd May 2012, 18:26
yes caco you are.

the huge population increases would require the agricultural base, water, infrastructure and medical capabilities, which in poverty stricken areas, one of the base links of malaria, would cause huge amounts of death due to erm poverty, starvation, malnutrition, basic healthcare and if they survive long enough, civil war as competing social groups strive for dominance.

simply put, eradicating one of the biggest takers of human life in poverty stricken areas will not a utopia make.

2nd May 2012, 18:39
stuckgear what your argument (distasteful as it is to me) ignores is that diseases such as malaria are primary causes of poverty in places like Africa where bread winners are struck down and unable to work or simply die leaving their dependents in a far worse position than before. Simply put, eradicating malaria in the "3rd world" would improve the lot of the people and their respective countries and population levels tend to come down when families are financially more secure and better educated.

As for alleviating suffering and the humanitarian aspects of treating and improving the lot of humankind well I guess that doesn't mean a thing either!

I thank God for people like Bill Gates when I read this kind of argument

Our Work in Malaria - Overview & Approach - Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (http://www.gatesfoundation.org/topics/pages/malaria.aspx)


2nd May 2012, 18:49
i'm not putting forward an argument of any kind caco. simply fact. you can elect it as disasteful as much as you like. you may well envisage me to be a home counties, right wing whiteboy that's never travelled further than magaluf, but the reality is far different. i too have lived in africa and still have a relative there in one country perpetually on the brink of civil war. i also have a rare blood disorder related to malarial regions due to heritage, i have also dealt with a family member having to manage malaria having contracted it in a sub-sarahan region.

the facts remain, ridding the world of malaria, will not lead us all to sit around in a kumbaya circle sharing stories of how it was pre-utopia. unless the ability to manage a large population growth in such poverty stricken areas, the resultant is equally as distasteful as malaria.

youre asserting that malaria causes poverty is, IMHO false. there are many countries that have malaria which are not poverty stricken, but has been largely reduced to being managed.

you are trying to make a false assumption on me personally. that is not acceptable. play the ball not the player. cheers.

2nd May 2012, 19:23
you are trying to make a false assumption on me personally. that is not acceptable. play the ball not the player.

Now now stuckgear don't take on so.

Just because I find your argument distasteful doesn't mean or imply that I find you distasteful. I was playing the argument and not you stuckgear.

So in essence you deny or will not admit that disease is one cause of economic malaise and poverty in Africa (for example) which is central to my earlier comment. Let's just say that many studies have argued that the eradication of diseases such as malaria would be hugely beneficial to emerging economies with all that good that would arise from prosperity (better education especially reproductive education and the reduced need for extended families as insurance against the vicissitudes of malign fate).

Indeed it is this link between health and prosperity that exercises some of the better minds in Africa (yes there are such things). ;)

allAfrica.com: Africa: Investing in Health Crucial to Africa's Economic Growth (http://allafrica.com/stories/201104180571.html)

As for making assumptions about you let me just say that my only assumptions are that you are not a health care professional nor are you a missionary working in darkest Africa.

Save for that I make no other assumptions.


Loose rivets
2nd May 2012, 19:40
After a quick read through what seemes to be a good thread of serious argument. Just two comments.

The Panama project would probably have failed if that army doctor had not put forward a plan to reduce to ZERO local stagnant water. Even to a cup of forgotten water.

Someone on PpruNe mentioned an inspector in (I think) an Asian country, spotting wigglers in the hole where the parasol could be put in a table. This is the extent to which their breeding ground has to be made 'sterile.'

A young post-graduate's Dissertation c 15 years ago, explained the disappearance of sparrows on the loss of bugs due to spraying. ( I use the term bugs, loosely.) Her work was taken very seriously, and I think, her dissertation, published.

This place in Texas looks lush when we have good rain, but almost right away we get mosquitoes. Time and time again they ruin beautiful spring days to the point where I prefer the long droughts.

2nd May 2012, 20:13
Gorgas. Top bloke! William C. Gorgas - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_C._Gorgas)

2nd May 2012, 20:30
Caco, thanks for the PM. if no offence or attack intended then none taken. i'm probably just being a bit short as i'm sick as a dog this week.

malaria has playen a role in my own life, more perhaps than others.

the debate on malaria causing poverty or poverty causing malaria has gone on and on and of course advocates on either side have their vested interests. for example some chartities and NGO's claim that malaria causes poverty and urge donations to combat malaria.

IMHO that is spurious. Yes, malaria and poverty are linked, but the other argument is that poverty causes malaria.

There are of course areas and states that are not 'third world' that were / are malarial risk, however the risk has been reduced. so ergo, malaria does not cause poverty, but in endemic symptom of 'poverty'.

of course one key point about many health risks is education, but then the rub is, when a state increases education levels, then the population can't be palmed off with [email protected]

if you want to take sub-sarahan africa as the cause celebre, then lets look at the education levels, infrastructure levels and levels of political stability and indeed the ability for those areas to sustain the current population levels.

now add some 40m million plus to that, they need food, water, education, infrastructure.

in the past couple of decades alone we've witness huge numbers killed in inter tribal genocide, heck even on the doorstep of europe. now you throw in another 40million plus fighting for scant rescources for subsitance and all you are replacing malaria with is another set of problems with an equal death toll. or is it less distasteful if one man is butchered by another man rather than ravaged by disease ?

until humans have the ability to plan long term and manage their population without the large scale slaughter of others and coexisting with the scant rescources available then it doesnt really matter in the grander scheme of things does it?

(by puopulation management i am not talking about eugenics or death camps, i am talking about incentivising people to have smaller family groups, so lets not go down that road).

education, education, education is the answer to reducing malarial deaths, the prevention of female gential mutilation, to reducing poverty and to effectively manging our population levels with the scarce resources available. and that is education without political bias, education based on facts not ideologies, heck the 'developed' world has suffered enough without having to relearn the same mistakes as history past.

again, no offence taken. apologies if i bit off more than was being offered up.

2nd May 2012, 20:37
A common misconception is that it is just 'stagnant water' that mosquitoes use for breeding. They can also breed in flowing streams. Even when it comes to stagnant water, just a bottle cap will do.

In Germany I often notice mosquito larvae in our rain barrel, but we have a lot of swallows and swifts who keep busy eating the adults.

Nature is amazingly adaptable. Trying to deliver her a head-butt usually won't work, although it must be nice to think so.

This fantasy of wicked watermelons denying us the one magic solution, DDT, is just that, a fantasy. In reality, DDT continued in use, and it is still in use, since an across-the-board ban was never enacted. (Rachel Carson herself did not advocate banning DDT, but using much less of it.) Where it is still in use, it is being used less because it has lost effectiveness. That is due to resistance increasing in pest populations. This all goes back to 'natural selection,' but here it's a sort of selection driven by man's use of pesticides. It's a fight we cannot win in the long run for facts that are perfectly obvious to anyone willing to take a minute to think them over.

I had malaria once. It was a pretty miserable experience, one I would not wish on anyone. I don't think one can really do some sort of calculus of misery that considers it anything but a curse. One thing that might go overlooked is that sufferers are often quite lassitudinous, not much use to anyone. It's easy to posit a link between the disease and poverty.

Treated sleeping nets were a hot idea when I was last in West Africa.

2nd May 2012, 20:40
I suppose that it's only natural for various species of life to move whether caused by climate or fast-forwarded by man through shipping/aircraft movements. Whilst there is no doubt some scaremongering is afoot, the dangers of such beasties spreading nasty diseases to generally unsuspecting people is not to be minimised.

I was unlucky to have been bitten by such a mosquito some years back and had the pleasure of Dengue Fever for my troubles. Had I been better informed, the risks of getting bitten would have been greatly reduced, though not eliminated.

Maybe in 10-20 years the south of England will be climatically supportive of further migration for these harbingers of disease.


2nd May 2012, 20:52
chuks, i often appreciate your posts when absent from monckton or morner related subjects :E

was your malaria bengin or malignent ?

this is interesting, funnily enough it was on the wire 4 hours ago..
Deadly malaria parasite has shown resistance to one of the most powerful drugs on the market - NY Daily News (http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/best-weapons-malaria-obsolete-researchers-early-sign-malaria-drug-resistance-article-1.1071165)

Africa's deadliest malaria parasite has shown resistance in lab tests to one of the most powerful drugs on the market -- a warning of possible resistance to follow in patients, scientists said Friday.
Researchers in London found resistance to artemether in test tube analysis of blood from 11 of 28 patients who had fallen ill after travelling in countries mainly in sub-Saharan Africa -- what they said was a "statistically significant" result.
Artemether is one of the most effective drugs in the artemisinin group most commonly used in malaria cocktails known as ACTs.
"Resistance in a test tube usually leads to resistance at some stage down the line in patients," study leader Sanjeev Krishna (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Sanjeev+Krishna) told AFP of the findings published in BioMed Central publishers' Malaria Journal.
"The question is how far down the line."
The study did not look at the patients' actual response to drugs, and "what that might mean in terms of treatment failure, we have yet to assess. We don't know."
A statement said the resistance was caused by genetic mutations in a parasite transmitted by infected mosquitoes, and meant that "the best weapons against malaria could become obsolete."

2nd May 2012, 21:41
chuks, i often appreciate your posts when absent from monckton or morner related subjects

Hear, hear ! :D

Milo Minderbinder
2nd May 2012, 22:59
Its worth remembering that malaria was a significant problem in England up until the first world war, finally dying out in the 1950's
Kent was one of the last strongholds of it, but the Somerset levels, the Fens, the Broads and the Essex marshes were all affected

The history of malaria in England | Malaria (http://malaria.wellcome.ac.uk/doc_WTD023991.html)

One point to remember is that malaria has been used as a cure for syphilis. The temperature of the fever kills the spirocheates. So if you are going to catch the pox, get malaria as well

3rd May 2012, 08:21
@ Tony Draper

they used to call it the English Disease

Hmmm. Not so sure about that FSL. Certainly nowadays, that phrase is used for masochism, possibly SM also.

3rd May 2012, 16:39
When you read about some disease spreading, that is sort of ho-hum unless you happen to fall ill. At that point you might well want to have seen B-52s carpet-bombing Earth with DDT if you think that would have spared you your present suffering!

You can read about 'chills, fever, nausea, debilitation...' and think, 'Well, tough luck, Sambo! That's what you get for living in some African slum!' but then one day your number comes up, when suddenly life seems terribly unfair. One thing about malaria, if you survive it: It will make you a believer!

Globalization usually comes up in connection with trade; we now find it usual to buy stuff that was made in some sweatshop out in the middle of China because its price was right. When it turns out that some pest hitched a ride in the shipping container, well, that wasn't what we ordered, but there's no sending it back. Brown tree snakes, tiger mosquitoes, zebra mussels... the list is getting longer and longer. It's 'just one of those things,' I think, something we are going to have to learn to live with. It's not that the Commies have taken away our magic bullets, just that we are going to have to pay the price for fooling around with those natural barriers of distance, climate and oceans that protected us for so long that we forgot about all the threats that Nature can pose to us as just another life form.

3rd May 2012, 17:49
I did read that when the loco Pendennis Castle was shipped back from Australia, having stopped in Singapore, it was decided by the addressees to encourage the Customs people do a thorough examination in the firebox, smokebox and tender water tank in case there were any drugs packages or more likely, nasty biting creatures.