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September  15

Don't Read This at Bedtime

Three_blind_mice We all make mistakes, but losing three mice infected with deadly strains of the plague???

According to today's Star Ledger, that's exactly what happened just a few miles away at UMDNJ's bioterror research facility in Newark.

Officials said the animals could have been stolen from the center or simply misplaced in a colossal accounting error at one of the top-level bio-containment labs in the state.

The incident occurred more than two weeks ago and was confirmed only yesterday after questions were raised by The Star-Ledger.

The research lab is located on the campus of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. It is run by the Public Health Research Institute, a leading center for research on infectious diseases, now participating in a six-year federal bio-defense project to find new vaccinations for the plague -- which federal officials fear could be used as a biological weapon.

(Props to the Prop for pointing us to the spilled beans).

September 15, 2005 in Paranoia Beat | Permalink


Damn the farmer's wife.

Posted by: lc | Sep 15, 2005 3:16:00 PM

The article said that if the mice had plague, they'd be dead by now. However, the security issue is still a concern.

Posted by: Miss Martta | Sep 15, 2005 3:16:06 PM

Isn't it possible that they can still be carriers without actually having plague?

Posted by: whoknows | Sep 15, 2005 3:22:37 PM

Yes, I would think so. And even if they did have the disease and are now dead, they still could already have infected other mice.

Posted by: walleroo | Sep 15, 2005 3:26:40 PM

> if the mice had plague, they'd be dead by now

LOL! I've read too many thrillers and science-fiction stories for that to make me feel any better!

I take more comfort from the fact that one mouse was "missing" from each of three cages, which suggests "just" an accounting error!

Posted by: Chris | Sep 15, 2005 3:29:34 PM

This may be the first time a pandemic started as a rounding error.

Posted by: walleroo | Sep 15, 2005 3:33:49 PM

This may come as a surprise to folks, but as novelist Tony Hillerman pointed out in at least one of his Jim Chee-Joe Leaphorn novels (and in both the novel and a factual afterword), plague of various kinds is in fact rather common today in the American Southwest. Common but immediately controlled when it breaks out.

Perhaps those mice are headed, however slowly, southwards to NO? It could happen. Some years ago animal rights crazies "freed" some minks, not native to the UK, in Birmingham there. Within 5 years they were outside Glasgow. Today there's serious talk of allowing their trapping in the Highlands, where you can often see them scabbling over lochside rocks. They're what locals tell tourists are "otters," who are contrastingly very shy and nowhere near as aggressive as minks. Or rats, for that matter.

Posted by: cathar | Sep 15, 2005 4:01:17 PM

Where in the world do you come up with this stuff, cathar? I've been visiting this blog for months now, and I still can't predict when you're going to break out into one of these riffs. I see you sitting at a desk, feet on table, cigar in mouth, barking orders to various young interns. "Quick, get me everything you can on traveling plagues..." "Give me 500 words on kilts..."

Posted by: walleroo | Sep 15, 2005 4:10:27 PM

Great image.

Cathar you aren't all that bad. Sorry I called you B*&*^.

Posted by: lc | Sep 15, 2005 4:13:29 PM

Ooh! Hold those bowls of milk. Cue the mice.

Posted by: Bill the Cat | Sep 15, 2005 4:15:12 PM

Personally, I like Bill the Cat best today. Just try to avoid those hairballs for all our sakes, okay?

Walleroo, I simply travel, read and ask questions. Sometimes the kind that get me called a "wanker" in pubs, but afterwards we usually wind up sharing a pint or two. (But never a sheep, tra la la, no matter how cold and lonely it gets up in those Highlands.) Now, however, thanks to you, I shall never, ever ask for a Black & Tan in Ireland.

Posted by: cathar | Sep 15, 2005 4:20:27 PM

rotflmao-walleroo-that was the best image-thank you-hmmmm lc-that was nice-cathar;)

Posted by: cstarling | Sep 15, 2005 4:21:10 PM

"Cathar you aren't all that bad. Sorry I called you B*&*^."

I'd like to second that. Cathar, you truly aren't that bad--you're only a little sucky. I'm almost sorry I cut your b*lls off and fed them to the cat. (She died.)

Posted by: walleroo | Sep 15, 2005 4:26:15 PM


Posted by: John L | Sep 15, 2005 4:41:05 PM

Walleroo, I think your doppelganger has been out and about. Using your correct email address but not your usual tone.

Either you were being funny or someone was being "funny" for you. The latter is not nice, and raises issues about "latter's" hold on reality.

Posted by: cathar | Sep 15, 2005 5:00:23 PM

Perhaps, too, someone is simply upset that I have prominent genitalia. Brass ones, too.

Posted by: cathar | Sep 15, 2005 5:07:14 PM

Welcome to Plum Island part 2....

Posted by: RightSaidFred | Sep 15, 2005 5:10:38 PM

My apologies. It struck me as funny that somebody would apologize and then repeat the curse... "Sorry I called you a miserable low down son of a..." I didn't mean to impugn you or any of your appendages, brass or otherwise.

Posted by: walleroo | Sep 15, 2005 5:23:45 PM

Regards, walleroo. But only start your car from a safe distance for the next 48 hours or so, until the Semtex drips off the ignition wires.

Posted by: cathar | Sep 15, 2005 6:24:14 PM

((But never a sheep, tra la la, no matter how cold and lonely it gets up in those Highlands.)

oh my...

Posted by: Pam | Sep 15, 2005 7:29:39 PM

Aye - mind ye, thank goodness fer 'a thae yon sheepies ...

Posted by: Ben Doon | Sep 15, 2005 8:19:59 PM

Ach - gie's a break, mon...

Posted by: Phil MacCrevace | Sep 15, 2005 8:22:57 PM

So nice to hear from two happy shepherds above.

And Pam, there's more to this line of humor which Highlands locals are happy to share with "Sassenachs." About why galoshes have those weird closures, for eample.

Posted by: cathar | Sep 15, 2005 8:27:43 PM

I love the picture of the granny chasing the mice - Barista, where did you find that?

Posted by: Biff | Sep 15, 2005 11:38:03 PM

She got it from the UMDNJ Annual Report.

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