Um...I'll just have the salad, thanks.
August 6, 2004 10:17 AM   Subscribe

The HIV virus has jumped from primates to people on at least seven separate occasions in recent history, not twice as is commonly thought. And people in Cameroon are showing up with symptoms of HIV, but are testing negative for both the virus and its primate equivalent SIV, the virus from which HIV is thought to have evolved. That suggests that new strains of an HIV-like virus are circulating in wild animals and infecting people who eat them, sparking fears that such strains could fuel an already disastrous global HIV pandemic.
posted by dejah420 (15 comments total)

 
I blame Bush







meat
posted by Outlawyr at 10:28 AM on August 6, 2004


BCTF has created a comprehensive series of documents describing key aspects of the bushmeat crisis to raise awareness concerning this important conservation issue.
posted by matteo at 10:49 AM on August 6, 2004


From the New Scientist article (the final link in the post)

African women are at greater risk because the majority of girls have their first experiences with much older men, and often this is non-consensual, he says.

What this guy is saying is that rape by a "much older" man is the first sexual experience for the MAJORITY of African women. If this is true, well... it makes you think.
posted by Faze at 11:48 AM on August 6, 2004


The solution is to round up all the lesser primates (with the exception of lemurs, which are cute) and kill them.

They're filthy, scary animals and they need to go. Have you ever seen a mandrill up close? Jesus!
posted by Mayor Curley at 11:58 AM on August 6, 2004


pedant
humans *are* primates
/pedant
posted by Karmakaze at 12:01 PM on August 6, 2004


The solution is to round up all the lesser primates (with the exception of lemurs, which are cute) and kill them.

No, we should only kill their leaders, and convert the rest to Christianity.
posted by homunculus at 2:46 PM on August 6, 2004


Simian foamy virus - bad disease, silly name.

Also, "Fourth International Conference on Foamy Viruses" !?!

The search found Foamy the squirrel which is horribly offensive and funny kind of flash like south park. (It's friday maybe I should FPP that...)
posted by milovoo at 3:00 PM on August 6, 2004


> What this guy is saying is that rape by a "much older" man is the first
> sexual experience for the MAJORITY of African women. If this is true, well...
> it makes you think.

Indeed. Just remember that thene men are Africans so you mustn't say what you think.
posted by jfuller at 3:55 PM on August 6, 2004


HIV is very special as a pathogenic virus. It has lots of "plastic" RNA so that it mutates frequently, even more than the cold or the flu viruses, but it also has an extremely high blood density, uncommon for viruses. Fortunately, it would be almost impossible for it to mutate into a pulmonary (coughing and sneezing) form.
It is too virulent in its current form to be truly devastating--it kills too quickly to affect billions--and is already on the downward slope into far less lethal and treatable forms, at least in the US. In Africa, where it is aided by other factors, it is still on the upswing.

All of this goes to the question "can other viruses follow the same lethal pattern as HIV?" I would say probably not.

HIVs biggest allies are ignorance and widespread other venereal diseases which assist its transfer. Mechanisms are evolving to track it and control it that won't be going away soon--they can seriously impact the spread of a new type of viral disease. Plus the medicines currently used for AIDS are new classes of drugs that will continue to be developed, even if HIV is effectively supressed, against many other viral diseases.
posted by kablam at 4:20 PM on August 6, 2004


Just remember that thene men are Africans so you mustn't say what you think.

*cue "Dixie"*
posted by matteo at 4:27 PM on August 6, 2004


I'll have the large salad, but hold the bullshit.

The New Scientist does another lovely job of creating a story without connecting facts.

"...people in Cameroon are showing up with symptoms of HIV, but are testing negative for both the virus and its primate equivalent SIV...that suggests that new strains of an HIV-like virus are circulating in wild animals and infecting people who eat them, sparking fears..."

Does it really suggest infection from eating bushmeat? [on preview, kablam points to why it probably doesn't] Those sentences are placed next to each other, but that's all the effort this article makes toward such a suggestion.

"And the dangers of eating such animals are real. The BCTF points out that SIV infection has now been reported in 26 different species of African nonhuman primates, many of which are hunted and sold as food."

Again, two well places sentences with no factual or tangible science connecting them to infection from eating bushmeat. The monkeypox analogy is thrown in as well, but that's not a case of people eating the meat of prairie dogs.

"Previously the disease had only been known to infect humans after bush-meat hunters ate red colobus monkeys."

Here we have bushmeat hunters being infected but follow through the 'wild animals' link; the Harvard Medical School Center for Health and the Global Environment says "...transmission of the virus, a simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV), to humans was the result of blood exposures from the handling of chimpanzees killed by hunters." Blood-borne exposures at the kill site being a completely different thing than bushmeat eaten much later.

Is there supposed to be a logical follow-through in the part about Trichinella in crocodiles that eat wild (uncooked) pig meat? Don't we know to cook pork thoroughly these days? Let's not assume people eating crocodile in Papua New Guinea certainly got Trichinella from the crocodiles and that this somehow helps prove eating bushmeat leads to "HIV-like" infection, whatever that is.

Don't mistake this for an argument for eating bushmeat. The bushmeat trade is a real environmental concern, but this article is just FUD. Phrases like "a virus looking for a disease" may have a basis in fact, but it seems as though it's used here without context for emotional impact. That may be effective for an environmentalist 'call to arms' web page, but that's not the way to build scientific credibility for a cause.
posted by yonderboy at 4:33 PM on August 6, 2004


What I'm thinking is that we're talking about a continent where the majory of women are raped before they are out of puberty -- and it's like taken for granted. I think Theresa Heinz Kerry ought to look in to this. If there is a feminist issue on this earth, I think that day-to-day mass rape of African women is a feminist issue. That is, if what this article says is true.
posted by Faze at 6:55 PM on August 6, 2004


Faze: don't dig too deeply into that one. No matter how bad you think the depravity can get, it gets worse. A lot worse.
posted by kablam at 7:24 PM on August 6, 2004


The "virus looking for a disease" idea arose from the fact that despite their having been known for 50 years, and despite lots of looking, no disease has ever been associated with foamy viruses. A large number of people have been infected by them, but every one has been asymptomatic.
posted by shoos at 8:01 PM on August 6, 2004


The solution is to round up all the lesser primates (with the exception of lemurs, which are cute) and kill them.

Sounds like this guy.
posted by mr.marx at 7:08 AM on August 7, 2004


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