Plague Island - World's Most Dangerous Diseased Island

Reims Island which is located in the northern city of Greifswald, Germany might seem like a normal island to many people. But little do we know, this island is heavily controlled with tight security around the island.

This is where those tiny creatures which is a threat to mankind live and infectious disease like Ebola, Nipah, Influenza, Yersinia pestis, rabies, and Rift Valley fever exist.

This island is where the Frederick Loeffler Institute(FLI) is placed and under the status of biosecurity stage 4. This lab happens to be one of the 59 labs around the world that are allowed to conduct experiments related to pathogens of infectious diseases for scientific purposes.

This also includes zoonotic diseases that can jump from one species to another. Here, scientists inject the lab animal with a specific pathogen to see how it all occurs, the way it spreads as well as how to prevent it from happening.

Aside from the FLI, two other labs that are given the same authority to conduct experiments on animals will be in Winnipeg, Canada, and Geelong, Australia. The level of security on the island is so tight that the public is not allowed entry nearby the island. The island can only be accessed by passing the bridge.

Some low-risk areas on the island are where normal scientific labs and residences for research are placed. But before they enter the high-risk area, they will first need to change into proper clothing and sanitize thoroughly for safety.

While inside, they will then need to put on the HAZMAT suit, and filtered air is supplied through a host into the body. This causes the suit to be shaped like a balloon but it stops the lethal pathogen from getting inside if the suit is torn apart.

The building itself is also protected from the outside world as it is fully equipped with several airlocks and is always under negative pressure. This is to ensure that air is constantly flowing into the building and not outside.

If the air is to be released from the building, it will only be after the air is fully checked and undergo a thorough sterile process.

FLI was founded by Fredrick Loeffler in 1910 to study the hand and foot mouth disease(HFMD) which commonly attacks livestock. After becoming the leader in this particular research in the 20th century, FLI expanded its portfolio by studying other infectious diseases that affect both humans and animals.

This also includes Ebola, Nipah, Yersinia pestis, and SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic. Aside from that, SLI also studies diseases that are considered unique to specific animals such as fish, spiders, and mollusk.

Researches relating to zoonotic diseases are very high risk but the presence of the COVID-19 virus, it has reminded mankind about the potential risk of infectious diseases and the need to understand how it transmits from one species to another.

By understanding the factors that influence the rate of infectivity of the pathogen from animals to humans, researchers were able to identify new threats to global health in the future.

  • Hale, T. (2022, 15 Mac), What Happens On “Plague Island”, Home To The World’s Deadliest Viruses?. IFLScience.

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