“It’s a mix of biodiversity, but one that was created by people, not nature,” Keesing says. “We create a mix of species that don’t naturally occur together, and then it’s kind of like running an uncontrolled experiment. This virus jumps to that species.” Maybe that’s when a pathogen that we didn’t know about, that hadn’t previously made anyone sick (to our knowledge), suddenly becomes virulent and infects humans. “It was only when we did that to biodiversity that that virus became dangerous.” These types of markets pose one of the clearest threats to animal and human health, but they’re not the only threat. A greater risk is posed by the complex mix of habitat loss, population declines in wild species, and population increases among livestock and domesticated animals, invasive species and other more adaptable forms of wildlife.
China reports new outbreak of deadly bird flu even as country struggles to contain spread of coronavirus.
— Read on www.scmp.com/news/china/society/article/3048566/china-reports-outbreak-deadly-bird-flu-among-chickens-hunan
A person in Washington State is infected with a new respiratory virus. The outbreak began at a market in China and now has spread to at least four other countries.
— Read on www.nytimes.com/2020/01/21/health/cdc-coronavirus.html
From NFID Report #14,281 Two decades ago, a study looked at the rate of heart attacks in the United States, and fo…
#13,905 One of the remarkable, and most worrying, things about influenza is its ability to continually re-in…
One of the remarkable, and most worrying, things about influenza is its ability to continually re-invent itself, either via a slow process of antigenic drift, or rapidly through antigenic shift (reassortment).
- Antigenic drift causes small, incremental changes in the virus over time. Drift is the standard evolutionary process of influenza viruses, and often come about due to replication errors that are common with single-strand RNA viruses (see NIAID Video: Antigenic Drift).
- Shift occurs when one virus swap out chunks of their genetic code with gene segments from another virus. This is known as reassortment. While far less common than drift, shift can produce abrupt, dramatic, and sometimes pandemic inducing changes to the virus (see NIAID Video: How Influenza Pandemics Occur).
While reassortment can occur with just about any influenza A virus, H5Nx subtypes appear unusually agile in this department, and genetic contributions from LPAI H9N2 can be found inside many avian viruses (see PNAS: Reassortment Potential Of Avian H9N2).
#13,894 Exactly 7 years ago today ( Feb 27, 2012 ) we looked at an announcement from scientists from the U.S. CDC and the Universid…
#13,879 Twice each year influenza experts gather to make recommendations for the next flu vaccine; once in September…
A US mega-farm, a Christian backer and Africa’s oldest industrial chicken producer are bringing the world’s super birds to revolutionise the region’s food market and feed its poor
The chlorine washing of food, the controversial “cleaning” technique used by many US poultry producers who want access to the British market post-Brexit, does not remove contaminants, a new study has found. The investigation, by a team of microbiologists from Southampton University and published in the US journal mBio, found that bacilli such as listeria and salmonella remain completely active after chlorine washing. The process merely makes it impossible to culture them in the lab, giving the false impression that the chlorine washing has been effective. Apart from a few voluntary codes, the American poultry industry is unregulated compared with that in the EU, allowing for flocks to be kept in far greater densities and leading to a much higher incidence of infection. While chicken farmers in the EU manage contamination through higher welfare standards, smaller flock densities and inoculation, chlorine washing is routinely used in the US right at the end of the process, after slaughter, to clean carcasses. This latest study indicates it simply doesn’t work.