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Wildlife Disease News

Rats and Their Alarming Bugs

 

Rat pic When researchers examined 133 New York rats, they found food-borne pathogens, others that had never been found in the city and still others that were new to science. Credit Julie Jacobson/Associated Press

 

If the past few years have taught us anything, it’s that our well-being is intimately linked to the health of animals.

The current Ebola epidemic probably got its start when someone came into contact with an infected animal, perhaps a monkey or a fruit bat. The virus causing Middle East respiratory syndrome appears to spread from camels to humans.

Yet animal pathogens remain a scientific terra incognita. Researchers have begun cornering animals in far-flung parts of the world to learn more about what infects them.

Recently, a team of pathogen hunters at Columbia University went on an expedition closer to home. They conducted a survey of the viruses and bacteria in Manhattan’s rats, the first attempt to use DNA to catalogue pathogens in any animal species in New York City.

Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/14/science/rats-and-their-alarming-bugs.html?_r=0

 

 

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