The Island of Riems

There is a certain place known as the »Island of Diseases«, the »Island of Viruses«, or even the »Mad Island« if you will. Regardless of its many titles it is officially called the Island of Riems. 



For about 100 years the Friedrich-Loeffler-Institute (FLI) has been situated on this small island in the Baltic Sea. Behind two and a half meter high barbed wire fences, very well isolated from the outside world, highly contagious animal diseases are researched. Mad cow disease, bird flu and hoof-and-mouth disease are the better-known pathogens out of the many more strains of blight studied on this island.



In modern laboratories of the highest level of security, the scientists of the Friedrich-Loeffler-Institute are developing vaccines against such killer viruses. The biggest part of the laboratories can only be acceded in aseptic protective clothing. The building is permanently under low-pressure to prevent anything from escaping. Therefore the researchers can only leave the building completely naked through a lock, where warm water is automatically sprayed on them for 
several minutes. They call it the »showering out«. For animals, however, there is no escape. They leave the island only in a cremated state. Even the effluent of the animals is 
heated highly enough to kill every last germ. The FLI is one of the most isolated research institutions in the entire Republic of Germany. 



The particular location of the institute on the island is due to the discoverer of the viruses: Mr. Friedrich Loeffler. When he was trying to find a way to contain hoof-and-mouth disease on the mainland during the end of the 19th century, the disease tended to disperse on many occasions to neighboring farms. Under pressure from the local population he was banished to the nearby Island to continue his research in isolation and safety.