Zoonoses

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Category archives for Zoonoses

Another swine flu virus

There is an old vaudeville joke where a man goes to the doctor complaining about pain in his arm: Doctor: Have you ever had it before? Man: Yes, once before. Doctor: Well, you have it again. CDC reported on their weekly FluView website on Friday that the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) reported to…

Bats and fungus

The caves in the Dordogne department in southwest France are most famous for paleolithic cave paintings at Lascaux (the Dordogne is also famous for the being the home of microdot, whose blog The Brain Police is one of my daily reads). Now it has yet another claim to fame: the discovery of the first bat…

I got an email yesterday about “a disturbing undercover video showing sick and injured pigs being dragged, beaten, pushed with forklifts and shocked with electric prods by workers to get them onto slaughterhouse kill floors.” I’m glad I didn’t see it as the whole thing disturbs me enough. I’m not a vegetarian, although for about…

Swine flu in a cat and other matters

Helen Branswell, the Canadian Press’s extraordinary flu reporter, is one of the few reporters who could have written the article, “Flu dogma being rewritten by a strange virus no one pegged to trigger a pandemic”. She’s been following flu for years and has watched as one thing after another we thought we knew about flu…

Human swine flu in pigs

When swine flu appeared, the pork producers were keen to say there was no connection or relationship between pigs and swine flu (even though the virus’s genetic segments were all of swine origin). They didn’t want anyone to call it swine flu, giving rise to the celebrated naming controversy. But then we started seeing pigs…

Raccoon latrines? Not in my backyard!

If you are a paranoid hypochondriacal person with young children who lives in a suburb, you’ve come to the right/wrong place (take your pick). Because now you get to hear about Baylisascaris procyonis. What’s that, you ask? The procyon part should be the tip-off, but I suppose not that many people know that Procyon is…

The natural reservoir for most influenza viruses is birds, especially aquatic birds, but some versions of the virus have also become adapted to the host cells of other species, among them sea mammals, horses, dogs and of course pigs and humans (among others). How long is the list? We really don’t know, as there has…

It’s now fairly certain that humans have returned the favor and given H1N1/2009 to pigs, another example of a cozy flu swapping relationship now almost a century old. At the time of the 1918 pandemic, pigs were also suffering a serious influenza-like illness which was quickly dubbed “hog flu.” The pigs got sick suddenly with…

Swine flu: pictures, big and little

As is usual (routine? no, nothing routine about this) in an evolving epidemic contradictory and confusing numbers are appearing. Some of them are the result of information lags (tallies not being updated), some are the result of using different criteria for counting (suspect versus probable versus lab confirmed, etc.), some are just rumors. WHO is…

Swine flu: Saturday 6 pm EST

There may not have been much news at the CDC briefing, but it is coming thick and fast now. The CDC works through state health departments and defers to them on information about what is going on in their localities. Hence all questions about this were deflected at the 1 pm CDC briefing. I think…