Infected with African Trypanosomes at the University of Guelph
kristof at EASYNET.ON.CA
Wed Jan 1 18:03:51 EST 1997
Perhaps the following may be of interest to the members of this list
especially those with an interest in the type of research that is being
(or in my case -was) conducted at a Canadian university, particularly
the University of Guelph.
I had contracted African Sleeping Sickness or Trypanosomiasis because
of the research activity of a professor [Dr. Lucy Mutharia] in the
Microbiology dept. at the University of Guelph - my duty in this lab
being a lab tech drawing blood from animals. It was a six year ordeal
to save my life from a disease that "gives no respite from suffering
day or night and ends in death" -World Health Organization Web Page.
I am writing this in the hope that something may be done concerning
this serious breach of the law at the University of Guelph. This is not
a personal flame or an unsubstantiated attack against this University.
I assure you that the following story is completely true and may be
backed up by official documentation at your request. I encourage you
to access my web-site which contains a summary of my ordeal.
Web-site : http://www.easynet.on.ca/~kristof/fraud.html
My web-site documents my ordeal including the denials
of both the Ontario Ministry of Labour and the University of Guelph. I
could not count on help from either institution but on the contrary I
was subjected to lies and distortions of the truth for six years.
I had been inoculating both rabbits and mice with trypanosomes while I
had been working in the Microbiology Department. I had never been told
at that time that trypanosomes were being injected into the animals even
though I was doing many of the inoculations. I had no reason to suspect
that this research could be carried out in the department because it was
a teaching facility and it was Biosafety Level I. There were no special
precautions taken whatsoever. Nothing was told to me even when many of
the animals had died. I had questioned the researcher [Dr. Lucy
Mutharia] and she told me nothing. When I had developed a severe rash in
1990 which lasted well over one month I still had not been told
anything until four years later. In 1994, I was informed that the
researcher had been using only procyclic forms of Trypanosoma Congolense
and Trypanosoma Brucei Brucei. In actual fact, this researcher admitted
in 1996 (6 years after I had been infected) that she was also using
procyclic forms of Trypanosoma Brucei Gambiense, Trypanosoma Brucei
Rhodesiense, Trypanosoma Simiae, and bloodstream forms of Trypanosoma
Brucei Brucei and Trypanosoma Simae. While inoculating the mice and
rabbits I would occasionally stick myself with the syringe because the
animal would move. Throughout this time I was never told to take special
precautions. Furthermore, this same researcher would leave blood from
the experimental mice and rabbits on the surgical table and I would
clean it up.
I was eventually diagnosed (positive for African trypanosomiasis) by the
CATT method and by the end of last year (1995) I had a constant
headache every day, the fingers on my hands and were so sensitive that
I could not sleep any more at night. The one side of the back of my neck
was swollen and my eyes felt as if they would pop out of their sockets.
The doctor who had examined me when I had my anaphylactic reaction in
Aug. 1990 noted that it could be due to parasites. However, this was
never followed up because a doctor would never think of looking for
this in North America. I had also been to another specialist including
a parasitologist (1994) for commonly found parasites in Canada but I
was not given a diagnosis. However this same doctor did report that my
symptoms suggest that trypanosomiasis should not be discounted. Since
they do not test for African Trypanosomes in North America, I was
advised by my doctor to go to Europe for testing.
I had been treated with pentamidine for nine days although I have
developed diabetes as a side effect. Presently my health is relatively
excellent compared to before my treatment.
SUMMARY : The university was breaking the law by not following the
proper biosafety level of level 2 which of course would be more
expensive and elaborate for the university to set up. After my first
sign of Trypanosomiasis symptoms in August 1990, the university's
Biohazard Committee conveniently passed a level -1 permit for the
Micro. prof's research. Although the Federal Permit(Agriculture
Canada), issued to the professor, in Oct 1989, said that Biosafety
level-2 conditions must be "strictly" followed the professor continued
working in a level-1 facility risking exposure to not only myself but
countless undergrads and other staff. Even though the University
claims it had the dubious right to break the Federal permit (although
this may be easily argued against) the professor was handling
trypanosomes for approx. 11 months before the university passed a
permit that allowed level-1 conditions-she was handling both procyclic
and bloodstream forms of trypanosomes. Note that Health Canada,
Centre for Disease Control and the World Health Organization say that
Level-2 conditions must be used at all times when working with
Trypanosomes. In essence I was left to die.
The Ontario Ministry of Labour during two investigations was
just trying to cover up for the University which I also have
documented. This included Labour Minister Witmer herself. I have every
statement on my web-site covered by documentation from the
Ministry's offices (Toronto) obtained by the Freedom of Information
Act or by signed letters sent to me from the various players involved.
My campaign against the Ministry of Labour and the University of Guelph
is one of Justice, for how can something like this happen in Canada?
If you have any further questions please feel free to send me private
e-mail or fax to 519-856-1381 or phone 519-856-4503.
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