COVID-19 on the wings of a bat: what other dangerous infections will animals bring us?

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COVID-19 on the wings of a bat: what other dangerous infections will animals bring us?

COVID-19 on the wings of a bat: what other dangerous infections will animals bring us?

In Russia, an increase in the incidence of coronavirus is expected this fall. However, the indicators are likely not to be as high as last year, since the immunity of a part of the population has already been trained. This was stated by experts. But not everyone has been vaccinated yet. This allows the virus to mutate, become stronger, and take on more sinister traits. But it all started with bats. What other dangerous infections the animals will bring us – in the story of the correspondent of “MIR 24” Anastasia Glebova.

St. Petersburg. Zoo museum. We know a lot about the habits of animals, their habitat. Someone was even able to tame. But that almost all the dangerous infections that befell humanity came to us from animals, it became clear not so long ago. Among them: plague, Ebola, tuberculosis, HIV, and now also COVID-19.

Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, nearly 228 million people have been infected with it. And every day the statistics are replenished by another 500 thousand. More than 4.5 million have become victims of the covid. And these are only officially confirmed figures. The new delta strain hits the body even harder. Young people are seriously ill and more and more often die. “It goes very quickly. And sometimes only a few hours pass from the onset of the disease to the development of very severe lung lesions, ”said Petr Zubarov, deputy chief physician for the medical department of the infectious diseases hospital No. 23, Nizhny Novgorod.

COVID-19 on the wings of a bat: what other dangerous infections will animals bring us?

COVID-19 on the wings of a bat: what other dangerous infections will animals bring us?

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    FOLLOWING

    And now a new attack – in September in the Indian state of Kerala, an outbreak of the Nipah virus. There is no cure or vaccine for this infection in the world. The mortality rate is 75%. It was first discovered 23 years ago. Source – pigs and flying foxes.

    “There, the livestock of all pigs was urgently liquidated, all people were quarantined. And now we managed to localize all this by quarantine measures, ”noted Julia Desheva, a leading researcher at the Virology Department of the Institute of Experimental Medicine.

    It all starts like a cold: with fever and muscle pain. And then vomiting, confusion appears, cerebral edema and pneumonia develop. And as a result – a coma. And all these are zoonoses – the so-called diseases that are transmitted from animals to people. After infection, a person himself can become a distributor if the virus mutates in his body. This is the worst case scenario.

    The most terrible zoonotic disease is the plague. Humanity knows three black death pandemics. The first was in the middle of the 6th century and mowed 100 million people, the second in the 14th century. The death rate was 25 million. The third happened in the 19th century. Then from China to all continents, she reached by sea on merchant ships.

    Yersinia pestis (plague bacillus) was spread not only by rats, but also by vole mice, gerbils and even hares. Moreover, it was not at all necessary for them to come into contact with people – fleas carried the infection. But there were other ways as well. According to the Italian historian Gabriel de Mussi, in 1346, the subjects of the Golden Horde Khan Janibek, having fallen ill with the plague, began to throw corpses at the Kaffa fortress (now Feodosia), which was under siege. According to him, the Genoese survivors of the epidemic boarded ships and brought the plague to Europe. The causative agent of the plague (a bacterium in the form of a rod), like the main cure for the disease streptomycin, was found only in the middle of the 20th century. Until now, the plague has not been defeated, there are outbreaks every year in different parts of the world. There are many mechanisms for the transmission of diseases from animals to humans. Here are just a few. For example, airborne droplets or a mosquito bite. You can catch a bacteria or virus by eating raw meat or drinking unpasteurized milk. And a sick animal can scratch or just jump on a person. Eating unwashed exotic fruits is also dangerous, as there may be saliva from a sick animal.

    Any representatives of the fauna can be carriers and distributors of dangerous infections. But more often – those that themselves live in groups, in flocks.

    “I call it“ trash heaps ”, that is, these are animals that are trash heaps. These garbage dumps include bats, rodents, birds and blood-sucking arthropods, ”said Vladimir Dedkov, deputy director for research at the St. Petersburg Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology named after Pasteur.

    For example, people also got tuberculosis from animals – cattle, foxes, martens and even cats. It is passed from person to person.

    The beautiful Florentine Simonetta Vespucci, depicted in Botticelli's The Birth of Venus, died of consumption in the 15th century. Another feminine ideal of beauty from the beginning of the 20th century. Russian actress Vera Kholodnaya was carried away by another zoonotic infection – a Spanish woman. From 1918 to 1920, the pandemic killed tens of millions of people.

    “All the influenza viruses that we know today have their origins in avian influenza viruses. And birds gather in huge colonies, they emigrate over great distances, while carrying these viruses with them, ”said the virologist, head of the laboratory of the Gamaleya Center Sergei Alkhovsky.

    The birds have been sick with bird flu for a long time. But in 1997, they first infected a person with it. Millions of animals were exterminated on farms: both sick and healthy. “The virus eats us, it multiplies in our cells, it uses us. It can ride on one chassis, or it can ride on another chassis. Therefore, we can have a “change of owner”. When we have a change of host, as a rule, speciation occurs. That is, a virus appears that differs from the previous one so much that it is already easier for it to multiply in the new host than in the previous one, ”said Anch Baranov, Doctor of Biological Sciences, Professor at the School of Systems Biology at George Mason University.

    There have not yet been any cases of human-to-human transmission of bird flu. But nobody excludes the possibility. This happened with HIV infection. She adapted to the body through mutations and became a human disease. It is transmitted from individual to individual. It's the same with Ebola: bats have infected people, and now the infection is transmitted between people through sexual contact.

    “Most people get sick from other people, not bats. The first one was infected from a bat according to the laws of a natural focal disease. And then he went for a walk through the population as a pure anthroponosis, ”added Vladimir Dedkov, Deputy Director for Research at the St. Petersburg Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology named after Pasteur.

    But COVID-19 turned out to be the most agile of all. In theory, the pandemic should have ended quickly, as soon as at least 60-70% of the population got sick or vaccinated. But it was not there.

    “And here is a very cunning coronavirus, which has extremely powerful adaptive mechanisms, including vaccines. It changes its structure by mutations. And those are selected that contribute to the evasion of the collective immunity created by a disease or a vaccine, ”said allergist-immunologist Vladislav Zhemchugov.

    Natural disasters, climate change, destruction of ecosystems force animals and insects to change their habitat. Together with them, dangerous viruses “move” to new territory. And then an infected person, who in the 21st century freely moves around the world, spreads the infection himself. So, perhaps those scientists are right who say that COVID is humanity's payback for globalization and interference with nature.

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