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SARS-Like Respiratory Disease Is Spreading

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A SARS-like pandemic is possible
A SARS-like pandemic is possible
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A SARS-like respiratory disease, originating in China, has now spread to Japan and Thailand and is causing deaths. The "new SARS" disease is caused by the same coronavirus as SARS and public health officials are concerned. "Because some of the patients worked at a seafood market where birds, snakes, and organs of rabbits and other game were also reportedly sold," there is concern that the pathogen comes from animals like SARS reported Bloomberg this month.

According to the Wall Street Journal:

"Those infected in Wuhan included seafood merchants, buyers for restaurants and spice vendors from the market, known as Huanan, said shoppers and vendors in the area. Among those quarantined was the husband of Ms. Huang, who asked to be identified by only her surname. She said her 41-year-old husband frequented the now-closed market to purchase ingredients for a restaurant.

On Dec. 23, he had a fever and was coughing up blood. On Dec. 31, he was hospitalized at Wuhan Jinyintan Hospital, where all recent pneumonia cases were quarantined. That night, the mostly empty ward filled up with 40 other patients who had been in contact with the seafood and meat market had been diagnosed with the same viral pneumonia...

A week after the closure, one man who sold live fish there had reopened shop in another market about 12 miles away while waiting for authorities to clear the Huanan market for reopening."

There is an old saying "you are what you eat" and new, animal-acquired diseases make the axiom disturbingly true. Eating exotic, hunted and diseased animals can cause diseases to "jump species" and spark huge, merciless epidemics.

According to WHO, 32 million people have died of HIV since the beginning of the epidemic and the origin is attributed to animals. Avert, a web site offering global information and education on HIV and AIDS, traces HIV to the almost identical disease SIVcpz.

"The most commonly accepted theory is that of the 'hunter'. In this scenario, SIVcpz was transferred to humans as a result of chimps being killed and eaten, or their blood getting into cuts or wounds on people in the course of hunting. Normally, the hunter's body would have fought off SIV, but on a few occasions the virus adapted itself within its new human host and became HIV-1."

Eating cows with mad cow disease (BSE) and deer with chronic wasting disease (CWD) can also be deadly, causing the always fatal human brain disease called Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD). According to the CDC of two patients who died from the animal-transmitted disease.

One of the patients was a 61-year-old woman who grew up in an area where this disease is known to be endemic, and she ate venison harvested locally. She died in 2000, and analysis of autopsy brain specimens confirmed that the patient's CJD phenotype fit the MM1 subtype, with no atypical neuropathologic features. The second patient was a 66-year-old man who was reported to have eaten venison from two deer harvested in a CWD-endemic area.

Victims of CJD can experience blindness, sudden, jerky movements, difficulty speaking and swallowing and cognitive degeneration. Recently, a man contracted CJD from eating squirrel brains.

"In 2015, the 61-year-old man was brought to a hospital in Rochester, New York, after experiencing a decline in his thinking abilities and losing touch with reality, the report said. The man had also lost the ability to walk on his own...

"His family said he liked to hunt, and it was reported that he had eaten squirrel brains, said Dr. Tara Chen, a medical resident at Rochester Regional Health and lead author of the report. It's unclear if the man consumed the entire squirrel brain or just squirrel meat that was contaminated with parts of squirrel brain, Chen said."

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Martha Rosenberg Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Martha Rosenberg is an award-winning investigative public health reporter who covers the food, drug and gun industries. Her first book, Born With A Junk Food Deficiency: How Flaks, Quacks and Hacks Pimp The Public Health, is distributed by Random (more...)
 

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