The New West Nile
Virus Epidemic - Bioterrorism
Or Mother Nature (Again)?

Dr. Alan Cantwell, Jr., MD
© 2004 Alan Cantwell, Jr., MD
Five years ago cases of West Nile Virus were unheard of in America. Then cases erupted for the first time in New York City in the summer of 1999. Now in the summer of 2004 the virus has spread across the continent to the West coast. On August 10, 2004, it was announced that two women (an 88-year-old and a 91-year-old woman) were the first to die of the disease in Los Angeles County.
West Nile Virus encephalitis is yet another new infectious disease from Africa that is mysteriously appearing in the U.S., seemingly out of the blue. Is this another disease like AIDS that poses a threat to certain "high risk" groups? Could the outbreak of WN virus be some sort of biologic "test" (like the anthrax mailings) to wake people up to the dangers of bioterrorism? Are all these new "emerging diseases" and "emerging viruses" merely cruel and unprecedented acts of Mother Nature? Or could the "hand of man" in the form of crazy biological warfare scientists be causing these new outbreaks? Is it just a "coincidence" that all these weird bugs and illnesses have erupted in the past several decades? Or is all this just "paranoid" thinking?
New Emerging Diseases; Accident of Nature or man-made illnesses?
In the 1970s it was thought that many infectious diseases had been banished from the industrialized world. But, remarkably, over the last 25 years more than 30 new "emerging diseases" have appeared in various places. Some of the better-known diseases include AIDS, Legionnaire's disease, toxic shock syndrome, Lyme disease, hepatitis C, "mad cow disease", hanta virus, various new encephalitis and hemorrhagic viruses, Lassa fever, and Ebola virus. (New controversial diseases like chronic fatigue syndrome and Persian Gulf War Illness affecting veterans, are not included in the government's list of "emerging diseases.") In addition, older diseases such as tuberculosis, malaria, and cholera, have re-emerged in more virulent and drug-resistant forms. After 80 years of steady declines in infectious disease, the mortality rate in the U.S. rose 58% between 1980 and 1992.
Health officials place the blame on increased global travel and globalization, population growth and movements, deforestation and reforestation programs, human sexuality (in the case of HIV), and increased human contact with tropical miniforests and other wilderness habitats that are reservoirs for insects and animals that harbor unknown infectious agents.
Nowhere in the official list of causes is the fact that for many decades millions of animals and innumerable vials of infectious material have been shipped around the world for commercial and biological warfare purposes. This world trade in these deadly agents, coupled with the gene-splicing technology developed in the 1970s, has increased the dangers of new disease outbreaks. In addition, many new viruses have been passed around between various species of animals, and some of these viruses have been adapted to human tissue. This has resulted in the production of new laboratory diseases that have potential biological warfare capabilities. The b/w implications of all these scientific "advances" have led some conspiracy-minded people to suspect that the hand of man might be responsible for the outbreak of one or more of these newly emerging diseases.
The anthrax mailings that followed the World Trade Center bombings of 9/11 were certainly a "wake up call" indicating America was unprepared for a bioterrorist attack. More than 3 years later, the perpetrators have not been apprehended, and the U.S government's own b/w scientists are the #1 prime suspects.
The new epidemic of West Nile Virus encephalitis in America
West Nile virus infection in humans first broke out in New York City in August 1999. The first sign of the WN epidemic occurred in early July when many birds died mysteriously. Half the crows in the New York City area died, as well as some exotic bird species housed at the Bronx zoo. The virus has an affinity for some species of birds; and the mosquito acts as a vector for the virus. Thus, the virus spreads from birds to mosquitoes, and the virus is spread to humans and other animals via mosquito bites. A few weeks after the bird kills, the first human cases of encephalitis appeared in local hospitals in the northern Queens section of the city. By September, nine of 25 infected horses with WN virus died in Long Island.
Although the virus is contagious between birds, the disease is not contagious between humans. It is estimated that only 20% of infected people will develop a mild flu-like form of the illness; but 1 in 150 people will develop a severe form of the disease with mental confusion, headache, swollen glands, high fever, severe muscle weakness, and the tell-tale symptoms of encephalitis (inflammation of the brain). Mild cases last a few days; severe cases can last several weeks.
In 1999, the disease was totally confined to the New York City area, with 62 cases and 7 deaths. As many as 10,000 wild birds died. In year 2000, there were 21 cases and two deaths; in 2001 there were 56 cases with 7 deaths. By October 8, 2002 the CDC had reported a cumulative total of 2768 cases of WN virus with 146 deaths; and it is estimated that as many as 200,000 people are infected nationally. In 2004, there were 406 U.S. cases with 7 deaths as of August 3. The states with the largest number of cases are Arizona (247); California (69); and Colorado (44).
Until 2002 the virus was confined to states in the eastern half of the country. By the summer of 2002, all but 6 of the lower 48 states reported WN virus in birds, mosquitoes, animals or humans.
Also by 2002 the CDC confirmed that a transplant patient became infected by WN virus after having received organs from a Georgia accident victim infected with the virus. There was also evidence that the virus could be transmitted by an infected mother to her infant during breast feeding. Shockingly, it was announced that WN virus was in the nation's blood supply - and there is no blood screening test available to test for the new virus.
At first, infectious disease experts believed that the St. Louis encephalitis (SLE) virus was the cause. Oddly, this endemic virus occasionally causes mild outbreaks of disease in other areas of the U.S., but no cases were ever seen in New York. At the Bronz zoo, veterinary pathologist Tracey McNamara suspected a different virus because the SLE virus was not known to kill birds. Trained at Plum Island (see later), the pathologist suspected a connection between the bird kills and the human cases, but the Centers for Disease Control rebuffed her concerns. In September, officials re-instituted extensive spraying over New York in attempts to kill the mosquito population and control the encephalitis epidemic.
It was only through McNamara's heroic efforts to enlist the aid of biologists at other national labs, as well as at Fort Detrick, that it was finally determined on September 24, that the virus was indeed WN virus - a virus that had never been seen in America - and a virus for which there was no testing available in any NY state laboratory.
West Nile virus: Out of Africa? Or out of a virus laboratory?
WN virus was first discovered in 1937 in encephalitis cases in Uganda, in East Africa. African cases tend to be a mild, and the virus there does not affect animal and bird populations to any significant degree. In fact, the ability of WN virus to infect and kill birds has only been noticed very recently. Could this indicate that the virus has been genetically-altered or 'weaponized' for b/w purposed during the many decades that it has been available for study in virus laboratories?
Mild outbreaks of WN have occurred in Israel in 1951-1954 and 1957, and also in South Africa in 1974. However, since the mid 1990s, outbreaks of increasing frequency and severity have appeared in Morocco, Tunisia, Italy, Israel, and Russia, and have been strangely accompanied with a large number of bird deaths. A Romanian epidemic, reported in 1996, infected 90,000 people and caused 17 deaths.
Scientists have determined that the closest viral "relative" of the New York 99 strain of the WN virus is a strain of WN virus that circulated in Israel from 1997-2000. The NY99 strain has remained stable for the past 3 years.
Health authorities suspect the virus entered the U.S. via travelers from the Middle East, or via a stray mosquito on an airplane. Other researchers claim the virus arrived with African animals or birds placed in zoos. But, in fact, the WN virus has been housed in U.S. labs for decades, and has been openly sold to researchers around the world.
It is hardly a secret that the WN virus, along with dozens of other infectious agents, was sold and shipped by the National Type Culture Collection (in Rockville, Maryland) to Iraq during the 1980s when the U.S. was on friendlier terms with Saddam Hussein.
From the very beginning of the WN virus outbreak, there were rumors that the disease outbreak was bioterrorism, but these rumors were denied by health officials. CDC spokesperson Barbara Reynolds told CNN that "the possibility of bioterrorism is at the bottom of the list for how some outbreak may have occurred. It appears Mother Nature is at work." (CNN report, 10/11/99).
Various new theories of origin still appear in the press. For example, a Los Angeles Times editorial (9/28/02) proclaimed that "scientists think (the virus) may have arrived in the early 1980s when Asian tiger mosquitoes traveled in tire casings from Japan to Houston." (One wonders who supplies the press with these bizarre and undocumented stories.)
None of these theories has deterred Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy from urging federal officials to determine if the introduction of WN virus is a terrorist attack. On September 12, 2002, Leahy declared: "I think we have to ask ourselves: Is it a coincidence that we're seeing such an increase in WN virus - or is that something that's being tested as a biological weapon against us." Leahy is no stranger to bioterrorism, having received an anthrax-laden letter at his Washington office a year earlier.
The current presence of WN virus in the blood supply poses a potentially serious threat. Receiving WN virus by a blood transfusion undoubtedly infects the body with a larger dose of virus than a dose received from an infected mosquito. High-risk people for WN virus infection include elderly, debilitated, immunodeficient people (like cancer, AIDS, and transplant patients) and the very young. Furthermore, people who require blood transfusions are not in the best of health and should be considered "high risk" as well.
Certainly the arrival of the virus in the warmer southern states, where mosquitoes are active year-round and where many elderly retirees reside, is not a good omen.
Currently, all blood is tested for syphilis, as well as viruses such as HTLV-1 and 2, HIV-1 and -2, and hepatitis B and C virus. However, there is no blood screening test for WN virus unavailable; and no current treatment, vaccine or cure for WN virus disease.
Secret U.S. military b/w experiments on human populations
A July 24, 2000 Report ("The West Nile Virus Wake Up Call") from the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee dismisses the idea of WN virus infection as biowarfare, although the CDC was criticized for its "tunnel vision" and its failure "to expect the unexpected." The Committee concluded that: "The next outbreak of an infectious disease - whether naturally occurring or deliberately inflicted - may not be so forgiving." (The 2001 anthrax attack proved to be the next "deliberately inflicted" b/w attack.)
It is surprising that the U.S. government quickly eliminated bioterrorism as a cause for the WN outbreak, particularly when the government has a long and well-documented history of b/w experimentation against unsuspecting citizens.
In the 1950s, the U.S. military planned a project to cripple the Soviet economy by killing horses, cattle, and swine, with b/w weapons developed from exotic animal diseases. The laboratory at Plum Island, off the coast of Long Island, New York, is the Army's repository for viruses derived from the most dangerous animal diseases in the world. According to Norman Covert, base historian and public information officer at Fort Detrick, only a handful of scientists were aware of this project. "In many cases there were only maybe five people who knew what was going on in weapons research. People in one lab didn't know what happened in the next lab, and they didn't ask." Details of these Plum Island animal experiments were classified as secret until 1993. ("Plum Island's shadowy past: Once-secret documents reveal lab's mission was germ warfare," Newsday, 11/21/93)
During the 1950s and 60s secret military biowarfare attacks on unsuspecting civilians took place in many parts of America. The most notorious was a six-day attack on San Francisco in which clouds of potentially harmful bacteria were sprayed over the city. Twelve people developed pneumonia due to the infectious bacteria, and one elderly man died from the attack. This attack was not revealed to the public until years later when classified documents were finally released ("Army germ fog blanketed S.F. for 6 days in '50 test," Los Angeles Times, 9/17/79).
In other classified experiments, the military sprayed bacteria in New York City subways, in a Washington D.C. airport, and on highways in Pennsylvania. B/w testing also took place in military bases in Virginia, In Key West (Florida), and off the coasts of Southern California and Hawaii ("Army used live bacteria in tests on U.S. civilians," Los Angeles Times, 3/9/77).
The Army also experimented on its own soldiers. Project Whitecoat, a code name for a series of b/w experiments that took place at Fort Detrick between 1954 and 1973, utilized about 2,300 Seventh-Day Adventist volunteers who were exposed to germs causing tularemia, malaria, anthrax, Queensland fever, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, encephalitis, and a host of other exotic diseases. The experiments were aimed at preventing, diagnosing, and treating these diseases, as well as the development of vaccines. No one died in the experiments, but critics contend that the men were essentially coerced into participating in research that, despite military assurances to the contrary, could have been used to produce b/w weapons. ("Adventists' faith put to test; 2,300 soldiers were used in germ-warfare experiments," The Washington Times, 10/19/98)
In preparing America for nuclear attack during the Cold War years following World War II, thousands of U.S. citizens were used as unsuspecting guinea pigs in over 4,000 secret and classified radiation experiments conducted by the Atomic Energy Commission and other agencies, such as the Department of Defense, the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, the Public Health Service (now the CDC), the National Institutes of Health, the Veterans Administration, the CIA and NASA (see "The Nuking of America; Secrets and Lies of America's Cold War," Paranoia, Issue #18, Winter 97/98).
Not only is the public kept ignorant of b/w research, but b/w "accidents" are officially covered-up, downplayed, or blamed on animals. For example, the Russians finally revealed the truth about an epidemic of anthrax that caused at least 68 deaths in 1979 in the city of Sverdlovsk, 850 miles east of Moscow. The outbreak was officially blamed on eating meat from infected animals. Officials at the nearby top-secret b/w compound maintained that the anthrax spores were spread among cattle through ingestions of contaminated bone meal, and that the people who got anthrax acquired it through the illegal sale of diseased cattle from private farms. In 1992, Russian President Boris Yeltsin finally acknowledged the real truth. The cause was not "natural", but due to the accidental escape of spores of weapons-grade anthrax produced by the nearby b/w installation. ("Soviet germ lab caused epidemic in '79", Los Angeles Times, 6/16/92)
The full extent of the U.S. government's experiments on unsuspecting people will probably never be known because many incriminating documents remain Top Secret or classified. Other documents are often declared as missing, destroyed, or "unavailable", in an attempt to hide the truth from the public.
AIDS: A designer disease with a genetically-altered laboratory virus?
As the 1970s began, the U.S. Army's b/w program intensified, particularly in the area of genetic engineering research. In 1971, Nixon transferred a major part of the Army's Biological Warfare Unit at Ft. Detrick over to the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Thereafter, secret b/w experimentation continued under the cover of bona-fide cancer research.
During the 1970s the NCI's Special Virus Cancer Program also brought together leading national and international medical scientists in a unified attempt to uncover and genetically alter cancer-causing and immunosuppresive viruses. The genetic manipulation of cells and infectious agents, as well as the mixing and transferring of viruses between various animals (including monkeys, chimps and other primates), resulted in the creation of many "man-made" infectious agents for research, commercial and b/w purposes.
At the end of this decade a new immunosuppressive called HIV (the AIDS virus) began to exclusively infect gay men, the most hated minority in America (1).
Some AIDS researchers believe that this Special Virus Cancer Program (and its covert connection to America's b/w program) spawned HIV and that the new virus was subsequently seeded into the U.S. homosexual community via the government-sponsored experimental hepatitis B vaccine program (1978-1981). These experiments in Manhattan , Los Angeles, and San Francisco, utilized only highly promiscuous, healthy white gay and bisexual men as guinea pigs. Shortly after this experiment began, the first cases of "gay-related immune deficiency disease" (later known as AIDS) erupted in New York City in 1979.
(See my article "The man-made origin of AIDS" @
The idea of AIDS as a man-made virus that was deliberately seeded via vaccine programs into the American gay and African black population in the late 1970s is considered by most scientists to be a joke. Scientists pooh-pooh the idea of a "man-made" virus, even though the laboratory transfer of viruses from one species to another always results in a "man-made virus".
There is also a little-known reason why HIV continues to disproportionately affect gay men and bisexuals in America, and why it is predominantly a heterosexual disease elsewhere. It is now recognized that there are 10 different "subtypes" of HIV, which reflect differences in the genetic composition of the AIDS virus. Subtype B is the form of HIV that exists in America; this subtype is not prevalent in Africa. (Another reason to suspect that HIV in America was not "introduced" from Africa.)
Subtype B spreads more easily with anal sex and IV drug use, whereas the African subtypes spread more easily via heterosexual contact. Laboratory studies, undertaken by Dr Max Essex of the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, have demonstrated that subtypes C and E infect and replicate more efficiently than subtype B in certain cells of the vagina, cervix and the foreskin of the penis - but not on the wall of the rectum. Essex contends that these subtypes are spread more efficiently through vaginal intercourse. Subtype B helps explain why the U.S. epidemic spread quickly among homosexual men and IV drug users, while in Africa and Asia, subtypes C and E have spread rapidly among heterosexuals.
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In my view, all these subtypes further suggest that HIV is a manipulated virus introduced by the "hand of man", rather than a genetically-diverse virus descended and derived from primates in the African jungle by "Mother Nature."
Killer Germs for Sale
Further complicating bioterrorism is the sale of deadly microbes to anyone and any country with the cash to buy them. From 1985-1988, when the U.S. was still friendly with Saddam Hussein, his Education Ministry purchased 70 shipments of anthrax, West Nile virus, and other disease-causing organisms from the American Type Culture Collection, in Maryland. At that time, such shipments were entirely legal and received quick approval by the U.S. Commerce Department. ("Germ library's inventory is making detractors queasy," Los Angeles Times, March 16, 1998.) Even after Hussein gassed the Kurds in 1988, and even after the Gulf War, U.S. officials continued to supply Iraq with biochemical warfare ingredients ("U.S. was a key supplier to Saddam," Seattle Post Intelligencer, Sept 24, 2002). The CDC also sent WN virus and numerous other biological agents to Iraq during the years 1984 and 1993.
The Riegle Report (May 25, 1994) further details biological and biochemical shipments from the U.S. to Iraqi government agencies. It was later learned that these microorganisms exported by the U.S. were identical to those the UN inspectors found and recovered from the Iraqi b/w program.
On October 18, 2001, the CDC issued an unprecedented alert asking physicians to watch out for cases of smallpox, plague, botulism, tularemia, and even "emerging" hemorrhagic African viruses that cause Ebola and Marburg disease. Before the terrorist bombings, virologists were blaming animals in the wild. Now it is clear that the more likely threat comes from crazy scientists who will use any deadly infectious agent as a potential b/w agent if it suits their national, political, or religious agenda.
Was West Nile virus deliberately seeded into the environment?
Could the new outbreaks of WN virus be a result of decades of animal experimentation and manipulation of the African virus in various laboratories worldwide? Surely over the past 60 years new strains of WN virus have been developed and "weaponized" by genetic and/or b/w engineers. Once a virus like WN is "introduced" into the environment it can spread rapidly on its own. Already the WN virus causes disease in humans and animals unlike that seen in Africa back in the 1930s.
In late September 2002, there were various media reports claiming that some WN patients were developing signs and symptoms of polio, even though that disease is caused by a different virus. Could these never-before seen manifestations of WN virus be an indication that the virus has been altered in a laboratory? Could this more deadly form of WN virus reflect manipulation, not by Mother Nature, but by the hand of man?
Besides acting as a wake up call, what would be the advantage of introducing WN virus into the American environment? For a foreign terrorist, WN virus would be a poor choice of bioweapon. As a killer of old and sick people, it would not be a terribly effective b/w weapon. However, if the virus was introduced domestically as a "test" (like anthrax), the killing off of old and sick people would certainly aid the fiscal problems of Social Security and Medicare.
The World Trade Center bombing of 1993 did not serve as wake up call for the second WTC bombing of 9/11. Similarly, the introduction of WN virus into the New York population in 1999 did not serve as a wake up call for bioterrorism because it was followed two years later by successful anthrax letter attacks.
How many more wake up calls with bioterrorism will be required before health officials stop looking in rain forests and African animals for the origin of these new epidemic diseases -and begin to look at the world trade in deadly infectious agents, and the insanities of biowarfare and b/w research, as reasons for our current new plagues?
Biowarfare agents are designed solely to kill large numbers of civilians. And any country that is willing to employ and deploy these agents should be fully aware that - What Goes Around, Comes Around.
(1) In this article it is only possible to discuss a tiny bit of evidence pointing to AIDS as a man-made disease. My two books, AIDS and the Doctors of Death (1988), and Queer Blood: The Secret AIDS Genocide Plot (1993), provide extensive documentation for this theory. Although the scientific community and the major media have avoided all research pertaining to the man-made origin of HIV/AIDS, there is a wealth of information on the net regarding this topic: simply go to and type in "man-made AIDS" or "alan cantwell".
[Dr. Cantwell is a frequent contributor to His books on the man-made origin of AIDS are available on the internet from Book Clearing House at or by phone at 1-800-431-1579. Email:]



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