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Posted: 2/20/2006 6:53:11 PM EDT
link to article

Deadly viruses mutating to infect humans at rate never seen before
By Mark Henderson

Our correspondent reports fromn the meeting in St Louis of the world's largest general scientific study


NEW DISEASES
AT least one new disease is jumping the species barrier from animals to human beings every year, exposing people to emerging germs at a rate that may be unprecedented.



The first work to catalogue the range of germs capable of infecting people has disclosed that 38 new human pathogens have emerged in the past 25 years. Three quarters of these, including Aids, avian flu, Sars and new variant CJD, originated as animal diseases.

The survey, led by Mark Woolhouse, of the University of Edinburgh, has identified more than 1,400 pathogens that can cause disease in human beings, at least 800 of which crossed the species barrier from animals.

While it is not known whether the rate at which diseases are jumping species is accelerating, Dr Woolhouse said it was impossible that human beings had been exposed to so many new pathogens so quickly through most of history.

Changes in human behaviour and the environment, such as bushmeat hunting, intensive agriculture, the ease of long-distance travel and global warming, were all likely to be helping animal germs to acquire the ability to infect people.

“The rate of accumulation we are seeing now is too fast to be supported over an evolutionary timescale,” he told the American Association for the Advancement of Science conference in St Louis yesterday. “We would be overrun with pathogens.

“Either many of these pathogens will not persist in humans, or there is something very unusual about the present time. The most obvious explanation is the pace and scale of change in the ways humans interact with their environment, providing new opportunities for humans to be exposed to and to transmit novel pathogens.”

The deadliest example of a germ that has recently crossed from animals to human beings is HIV, which is thought to have started out as a monkey or ape virus in Africa. Other conditions with an animal origin include the Ebola and Marburg haemorrhagic fevers, the coronavirus that causes Sars, the West Nile virus that is now endemic in the United States and H5N1 avian flu.

The class of pathogen most responsible for new human infections is the RNA viruses, which include HIV and influenza. These seem particularly adept at jumping species because they have small genomes that mutate easily, allowing them to adapt to new hosts.

The animal reservoir of new diseases with the potential to infect human beings requires a new approach to medicine, in which its human and veterinary branches become more closely allied to detect and fight the pathogens that present a threat, Dr Woolhouse said.

“We have to recognise that there is really only one medicine,” he said. “Pathogens don’t distinguish between humans and animals, but we do with our distinction between medicine and veterinary medicine. We can’t afford to go on like that. Vets and medics need to work together.

“This has to start with students. Veterinary students need to learn about the public health implications of their field of study, and medics really need to get their act together.

“In the medical textbooks, the discussion of any disease always starts with the first human case. No it didn’t. It was probably in animals first. We need to exploit this knowledge in the veterinary field if we are to have the best chance of containing new pathogens.”

His call was supported by Nina Marano, of the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta. “We have to bring public health and veterinary medicine closer,” she said. “Eleven of the 12 top-category bioterror agents are of zoonotic (animal) origin, and we are seeing the spread of highly pathogenic H5N1 flu.”

*****

Not to mention the fact that there are BILLIONS of hu-mans running around, more than ever, so we offer the microbes lots of biomass to play around in...






Link Posted: 2/20/2006 6:53:37 PM EDT
sky... getting closer...
Link Posted: 2/20/2006 6:56:09 PM EDT
the end is near
Link Posted: 2/20/2006 7:03:09 PM EDT
Soon the dead will walk, the solanum virus will mutate and become airborne.
Link Posted: 2/20/2006 7:08:11 PM EDT
This is how the zombies will start.


Graaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaagh...
Link Posted: 2/20/2006 7:10:42 PM EDT

bushmeat hunting, intensive agriculture, the ease of long-distance travel and global warming


What the hell is Bushmeat hunting? Doesn't matter, as soon as "Global Warming" came into play I knew this "story" is a sham, look at the source.
Link Posted: 2/20/2006 7:10:47 PM EDT
zombies are some good eatin.
Link Posted: 2/20/2006 7:27:24 PM EDT
In general, microbes that make the jump from animals to humans cause severe disease.

That said, there are obviously some barriers and many are species or genus specific to varying degrees.

And there do seem to be some pretty nasty ones over the past several decades. Part of it though is that we have become much better at detecting and identifying these.


Lots of fear mongering however.
Link Posted: 2/20/2006 7:29:01 PM EDT

Originally Posted By g3shooter:
Soon the dead will walk, the solanum virus will mutate and become airborne.



I for one cannot wait!!
Link Posted: 2/20/2006 7:30:39 PM EDT
We're all gonna die..........again.
Link Posted: 2/20/2006 7:31:23 PM EDT
Been keeping your Zombie Survival Guides UPDATED?!?!?

Well you better start! Every little bit of information about the upcoming zombie revolution will help us fight these beasts.
Link Posted: 2/20/2006 7:31:46 PM EDT

Originally Posted By sabre_kc:
We're all gonna die..........again.




Yep. Third time this week, and it's only Monday.
Link Posted: 2/20/2006 8:01:44 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Zaphod:

Originally Posted By sabre_kc:
We're all gonna die..........again.




Yep. Third time this week, and it's only Monday.



If you think this is a laughing matter read up on the origin of infectious diseases and the effect they have had on human history. These were the books I had to read for Biology 324: The Return of Ancient Plagues and the Rise of New Infectious Diseases.

www.amazon.com/gp/product/0684822709/qid=1140497840/sr=2-1/ref=pd_bbs_b_2_1/104-8476941-7022348?s=books&v=glance&n=283155

www.amazon.com/gp/product/0385121229/ref=pd_sim_b_5/104-8476941-7022348?%5Fencoding=UTF8&v=glance&n=283155

www.amazon.com/gp/product/0195134222/ref=pd_sim_b_2/104-8476941-7022348?%5Fencoding=UTF8&v=glance&n=283155
Link Posted: 2/20/2006 8:05:40 PM EDT
My post was a jab at the media hype, not deadly viruses. Yes people have died in the past.
Link Posted: 2/20/2006 8:06:46 PM EDT

Originally Posted By AyeGuy:

Originally Posted By Zaphod:

Originally Posted By sabre_kc:
We're all gonna die..........again.




Yep. Third time this week, and it's only Monday.



If you think this is a laughing matter read up on the origin of infectious diseases and the effect they have had on human history. These were the books I had to read for Biology 324: The Return of Ancient Plagues and the Rise of New Infectious Diseases.

www.amazon.com/gp/product/0684822709/qid=1140497840/sr=2-1/ref=pd_bbs_b_2_1/104-8476941-7022348?s=books&v=glance&n=283155

www.amazon.com/gp/product/0385121229/ref=pd_sim_b_5/104-8476941-7022348?%5Fencoding=UTF8&v=glance&n=283155

www.amazon.com/gp/product/0195134222/ref=pd_sim_b_2/104-8476941-7022348?%5Fencoding=UTF8&v=glance&n=283155



There's a reason he's jaded, and most people are.

Every year when flue season starts there's a giant buildup about the next big superbug.

This year it was the bird flu. A couple years ago it was sars. And countless times before that it was somethign else.

There's only so many times you can be told the sky is falling before you stop looking up.

If there's a superbug coming, there's not much I can do about it. Worrying about it is just going to waste my time. If it comes, it comes, and then I'll deal with it.
Link Posted: 2/20/2006 8:27:32 PM EDT

Originally Posted By sabre_kc:
My post was a jab at the media hype, not deadly viruses. Yes people have died in the past.



Lots of 'em!
Link Posted: 2/20/2006 8:42:24 PM EDT
The sky is falling, the sky is falling

why doesn't the gobment do something
Link Posted: 2/20/2006 8:51:55 PM EDT
read one of those books than laugh all you want
Link Posted: 2/20/2006 8:53:34 PM EDT

Originally Posted By AyeGuy:
read one of those books than laugh all you want



no offense, but what is reading one of those books going to do for me?

Protect me from the next big superbug that may or may not come?

Or just waste some of my time and make me (more) paranoid?
Link Posted: 2/20/2006 9:13:12 PM EDT

Originally Posted By bastiat:
There's a reason he's jaded, and most people are.

Every year when flue season starts there's a giant buildup about the next big superbug.

This year it was the bird flu. A couple years ago it was sars. And countless times before that it was somethign else.

There's only so many times you can be told the sky is falling before you stop looking up.

If there's a superbug coming, there's not much I can do about it. Worrying about it is just going to waste my time. If it comes, it comes, and then I'll deal with it.




Bingo. I'm sick and tired of the "disease du jour" being paraded across the media as if we're all going to die.

Read a book? Fine. I read "The Hot Zone". Am I now immune to Ebola Zaire? No? Hell of a lot of good it did to read the book, then, didn't it?

Bird flu, Sars, AIDS, TB, Ebola, and the list goes on.

Bunch of alarmist BS. When the REAL one comes, the "authorities" will be whining about why no one is listening to them.
Link Posted: 2/20/2006 10:08:15 PM EDT
The "reporter" needs to learn some history. Syphilis used to be a quick killer when it first jumped to humans. Those strains burned out, leaving the current "small sore at initial infection point and eventual insanity" variety.

At least he managed to write that there are 1400 "known" human diseases, instead of the other versions I've seen where the reporters wrote that there were exactly 1407 diseases that could possibly afflict mankind right now.
Link Posted: 2/20/2006 10:13:11 PM EDT

Originally Posted By CRC:
the end is near nigh



Fixed it for you.


"Oh its the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fiinneee...."
Link Posted: 2/20/2006 10:20:23 PM EDT
Link Posted: 2/20/2006 10:28:11 PM EDT
The only thing that has changed is travel time. If there is one, it can spread among people more easily. I seriously doubt viruses are mutating any faster than they have for the last billion years.
Link Posted: 2/20/2006 10:30:18 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/20/2006 10:31:04 PM EDT by sabre_kc]

Originally Posted By thebeekeeper1:

Originally Posted By AyeGuy:

Originally Posted By sabre_kc:
My post was a jab at the media hype, not deadly viruses. Yes people have died in the past.



Lots of 'em!



All of 'em--and they managed to do so without the assistance of Bush, Halliburton, and . . . you know it's coming--

<­BR>

Cheney. Heh




good one
Link Posted: 2/20/2006 10:49:51 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Stove_Pipe:

bushmeat hunting, intensive agriculture, the ease of long-distance travel and global warming


What the hell is Bushmeat hunting? Doesn't matter, as soon as "Global Warming" came into play I knew this "story" is a sham, look at the source.



La de da de da, what a nice day to walk in the jungle.

I'm hungry. Oh look, there's a gorilla!

<bang!!>

Yummy in my tummy.
Link Posted: 3/5/2006 9:33:05 AM EDT
Yes, because we all know that hunting was discovered in the 20th century.
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