This photo shows a colony of bacteria that is known to cause brucellosis, which is among the diseases being studied by the Biosecurity Research Institute in Manhattan. Brucellosis isn’t common in the United States, but causes fevers, weakness, anemia, headaches, depression, and muscle and joint pain.
The disease is found in sheep, goats and cows and is transmitted to humans by drinking contaminated milk. It is also found in people who work around animals that have the disease.
While mostly eradicated from domestic cattle in the United States, in recent years the disease has infected herds of bison and elk in Yellowstone National Park. The disease is also considered a biological warfare agent.
Anthrax, which is shown here highly magnified, is a serious disease caused by the bacteria Bacillus anthracis. In 2001, anthrax was spread through the postal system via letters containing a powdered form of anthrax. Twenty-two people were infected. Researchers at BRI are studying ways to detect anthrax in the food supply.
This is a photomicrograph of Yersinia pestis, which causes plague in animals and humans. Infections from this strain of bacteria are believed to have caused some of the worst human epidemics in history. Among them was the Black Death, which wiped out a third of Europe’s population in 1300s. Scientists at BRI are studying ways to detect if the plague is introduced into the nation’s food supply.
This photomicrograph shows the presence of Francisella tularensis bacteria, which is the pathogen responsible for causing the disease tularemia. Tularemia occurs naturally in the United States and is found mainly in rodents. It can spread to humans through ticks and deer flies. Tularemia is among the pathogens researchers will study at BRI.
This is an electron micrograph of avian influenza. The virus occurs naturally among birds. Avian influenza is extremely contagious among birds and can kill domesticated birds such as chickens, ducks and turkeys. Since 1997, several outbreaks of avian influenza in humans have been reported. Avian influence is among what scientists call “high consequence livestock pathogens” that will be studied at BRI.
This transmission electron micrograph is of the Tribec virus, a member of the genus Orbiviruses, which causes bluetongue disease in animals.
The disease infects mainly sheep and can have 100 percent morbidity and 50 percent mortality rates in sheep herds. Bluetongue is among the diseases being studied at the USDA’s Arthropod-Borne Animal Diseases Research Unit, which has recently relocated from Wyoming to Manhattan and is doing research at BRI.