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DVD Smith
1289437.  Sun Jul 08, 2018 3:13 pm Reply with quote

Q: What is the deadly secret of Monkey Island?

A: Herpes.

[Ten points to you if you get the video game reference in the question.]

Just off the coast of South Carolina, Morgan Island (nicknamed "Monkey Island") is an island inhabited by more than 4000 rhesus monkeys. The monkeys were originally housed in a lab in Puerto Rico where they were tested on in attempts to create a polio vaccine. During this process, they got infected with herpes B, a strain of herpes lethal to humans. After some started to escape the lab and infect the local people, in 1979 all 1400 of them were shipped to Morgan Island to isolate, contain and study them.

Since then, the monkeys have continued to be used as test subjects for other experiments, including research into child diseases, AIDS and, after 9/11, bioterrorism. So while they were originally infected with herpes, goodness knows what else they're carrying now!

With the exception of the occasional research scientist, no humans are allowed on the island - although local tourist companies do run boat trips to the island so people can view the monkeys from a safe distance offshore.

Only one monkey is known to have successfully escaped the island - in 2005, when a 10-year-old male was found in a tree seven miles away from the island. No one knows how he made it to shore, since the monkeys can't swim very well.

Sources: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]

It's not the only "Monkey Island" in the world though. There's also a Monkey Island in England, on the Thames. Although the origins of the name are disputed (some think it's a distortion of "Monks Island" and has no connection to the animal), the island now contains a luxury hotel with a room full of paintings of monkeys in various historical and human settings. [8] [9] In 1907, an actual monkey escaped from Monkey Island. [10]

There is also Monkey Island, Oklahoma, a peninsula in the northeast of the state. As a bit of vandalism on the peninsula's Wikipedia page currently says:

"Monkey Island is neither an island, nor does it contain monkeys. If you first drive through Disney -- 25 miles (40 km) southwest via State Highway 85 -- and tell the kids you're going to Disney and Monkey Island without further explanation, you can easily make this one of the most disappointing road trips of their lives."

DVD Smith
1292888.  Wed Aug 15, 2018 5:49 am Reply with quote

What is a 'quarantine'?

[Klaxon: Keeping sick people away from others]

According to the American CDC, a quarantine is when a healthy person is kept separate from others, to see if they develop a disease to which they may have recently been exposed.

If a person/animal is already infected, then separating them from others is known as isolation.

1292890.  Wed Aug 15, 2018 5:57 am Reply with quote

The word comes from an Italian variant (seventeenth-century Venetian) of 'quaranta giorni', meaning forty days, the period that all ships were required to be isolated before passengers and crew could go ashore during the Black Death plague epidemic.


DVD Smith
1292909.  Wed Aug 15, 2018 7:35 am Reply with quote

An uninhabited island off the coast of Scotland was quarantined for 48 years after the British government used it to test anthrax bombs during the Second World War.

In 1942, eighty sheep were transported to Gruinard Island (pronounced "grin-yard") and then subjected to detonations of bombs filled with anthrax spores. All of the sheep became infected and died within a few days. Footage of the tests was released in the 1990s, and is now visible on Youtube.

The tests were preparation for a plan known as Operation Vegetarian, which involved dropping five million anthrax bombs on Germany's cities and farms in order to kill off livestock and cut off Germany's supply of meat. However, the plan was shelved after efforts to decontaminate Gruinard Island failed, and the island was quarantined indefinitely. The five million anthrax bombs were eventually incinerated after the end of the war. [1]

In the 1980s, soil samples reportedly stolen from the island were used by a militant group called the Dark Harvest Commando in a campaign to decontaminate the island. [2]

Eventually in 1990, after further decontamination efforts involving 280 tons of formaldehyde, the island was officially declared anthrax-free, and reopened to the public.

More info:

DVD Smith
1297135.  Mon Oct 01, 2018 7:28 am Reply with quote

Where would you find the most viruses and diseases in an airport?

The trays at security.


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