Can Ebola Teach Scientists How to Handle Alien Bacteria

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Measures taken in the current Ebola outbreak may hold some clues for how to handle samples brought back to Earth from Mars, a place that could potentially host extraterrestrial microbes.

The 1971 sci-fi film "The Andromeda Strain" dramatized the idea of alien organisms infecting the Earth. Based on a novel by Michael Crichton, the film depicts the spread of an alien germ brought back to Earth by a satellite. An elite team of specialists responds, relying on protective hazmat suits, decontamination and disinfection safety levels, and a secret, high-tech underground facility named Wildfire to study and deal with the deadly extraterrestrial organism.

Fun Facts About Flesh Eating Bacteria

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1. The bacteria aren't actually eating your flesh. The various species—including some that cause strep and staph—enter a wound, scrape, or bug bite and unleash a flood of toxic chemicals that kill surrounding tissue cells.

2. At least 650 cases crop up each year in the US—and about a quarter prove fatal. Flesh-eating bacteria have claimed the life of particle physicist Alexandru Marin, a chunk of the right leg of science fiction writer/marine biologist Peter Watts, and some of Slayer guitarist Jeff Hanneman's right arm.
See more at Wired
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