The Chickens Fight Back: Pandemic Panics and Deadly Diseases that Jump From Animals to Humans
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Emerging diseases like mad cow, SARS, and avian flu are — for the moment, at least — far more prevalent in animals than in humans. Still, the knowledge that measles, TB, and smallpox were at one time “emerging” diseases that eventually made a permanent, and quite deadly, jump to humans gives epidemiologists pause. This book examines the various groups of animal diseases, explains what attracts them to the human population — from food to sex to living conditions — and offers suggestions for keeping them at bay. It also points out that diseases must be looked at from an ecological, cultural, and economic point of view as well as from a biological standpoint. Cooking meat till its well done and slathering on insect repellent for a hike in the woods are effective preventative measures, but as the author notes, it’s more important to fundamentally rethink humankind’s place in the world.
disease they carried were being established in local, home-grown cycles. The question we asked was: how important would milder winters and hotter summers be in the northward movement of Lyme disease? To get the ticks, Ogden and fellow researcher Robbin Lindsay took four male research dogs out into the woods at Long Point, one of the southernmost areas of Canada. Robbin, an intrepid entomologist with the Public Health Agency of Canada’s secure laboratory in Winnipeg, who had battled the prairie
and fever to bleeding from the gums and nose to full-blown seizures and death. Tens of thousands of people get sick from it in eastern Asia every year. One in five of these die. There is a vaccine, which works pretty well. Among all this family of diseases, the one most vigorously and seriously investigated has been yellow fever, probably because it was of interest to the U.S. military. In its home in tropical Africa, yellow fever cycles naturally between mosquitoes that breed in holes in trees
water (where they build up high levels of virus), followed by heavy rains that cause them to fan out over wide geographic areas. Whatever the reasons, the virus found a home, settled in for a year or so, and then, in good biblical fashion, multiplied and spread. In 2000, there were 29 human cases in the U.S.; in 2001, 666; in 2002, over 4,000; and the following year, almost 10,000. The numbers reflected a great wave moving across the continental United States and Canada. Interestingly, behind the
larva migrans. Many (anywhere from 8 to 63 percent) of playgrounds in North America, Europe, and Japan, as well as many backyards, have been shown to be seeded with eggs. The contamination rates in yards are not related to whether or not one owns a dog. Dogs wander and poop where they like. In North America, where there is some modest control over dogs, scientists tend to think of this as a disease of children in unclean environments. This is not so everywhere in the world. A 1987 study in the
our emergent story. A story rings false, proves itself weak, inadequate to the task of helping us find our collective way through a mysterious universe, if it must rely on brute force to “prove” its veracity. To the extent that Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, state capitalism (as practiced by Stalin), corporate capitalism, and institutional science rely on bombs, planes crashing into tall buildings, assassinations, armies, popes, excommunications, shunnings, invasions, old boys, and patents, they