April 29, 2005

Friday Cat Blogging (A Most Distressing Issue of Science Geek Edition)

This is not good, in several ways:

Roongroje Thanawongnuwech, Alongkorn Amonsin, Rachod Tantilertcharoen, Sudarat Damrongwatanapokin, Apiradee Theamboonlers, Sunchai Payungporn, Kamonchart Nanthapornphiphat, Somchuan Ratanamungklanon, Eakchai Tunak, Thaweesak Songserm, Veravit Vivatthanavanich, Thawat Lekdumrongsak, Sawang Kesdangsakonwut, Schwann Tunhikorn, and Yong Poovorawan, "Probable Tiger-to-Tiger Transmission of Avian Influenza H5N1". Emerging Infectious Diseases, May 2005.
During the second outbreak of avian influenza H5N1 in Thailand, probable horizontal transmission among tigers was demonstrated in the tiger zoo. Sequencing and phylogenetic analysis of those viruses showed no differences from the first isolate obtained in January 2004. This finding has implications for influenza virus epidemiology and pathogenicity in mammals.

In addition to the deaths of well over a hundred tigers (unpleasant ones; I will spare you the details), this is bad because they Thanawongnuwech et al. can more or less show that many of the tigers which got the disease must have gotten it from other tigers: "Epidemiologic data obtained from this study demonstrated that all tigers that became ill after October 23, 2004, were probably infected by horizontal transmission since the animals had not been fed raw chicken carcasses since October 16." Infection from other birds can also be pretty much ruled out. It's worth reading in detail if you want to scare yourself about mammal-to-mammal transmission of avian flu, or you're curious about how, exactly, one determines what ails a tiger. (Via Majikthise.)

Friday Cat Blogging

Posted by crshalizi at April 29, 2005 16:40 | permanent link

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