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Re: Mesozoic illnesses

Dora Smith writes:

There's diseases everywhere. As a rule, we're more at risk for diseases that evolved among mammals, or at least that are closely related to current diseases among mammals.

Humans have caught (and died from) psittacosis. Salmanella bacteria also readily infect humans directly from birds.

Human influenza also tends to come to us from birds, via pigs. H5N1 (AKA 'bird flu') doesn't even need pigs as an intermediary - although for all we know it may have re-infected birds after spending time in mammals (I seem to remember a mass-culling of civet cats when they were found to have H5N1 antibodies). Once a virus jumps a species barrier, it is more likely to be able to infect more species still. Here in Australia we've had people die from a virus caught from horses (which in turn seem to have caught it from flying foxes).

As a general rule though, most viruses tend to be specific to certain animal groups. Bacteria however tend to be more flexible, and fungi are rarely picky at all.


Dann Pigdon
GIS / Archaeologist              geo cities.com/dannsdinosaurs
Melbourne, Australia             heretichides.soffiles.com