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Posted by Chernoff on April 26, 2003 at 23:39:35:
In Reply to: SARS, food markets, and Chinese Rat Snakes... posted by Terry Cox on April 26, 2003 at 21:29:31:
:Are there hidden virus' and bacteria in the world that we just haven't come into contact with, yet? Probably, but I doubt it would have to do with reptiles as carriers. Asians have been eating reptiles since before any European cultures even existed. More likely, it's because virus' are evolving in the face of modern medicine and technology.
:I doubt that Chinese people eat Mandarin ratsnakes. They mainly eat the larger snakes, such as the stripe-tailed rats and copperheaded rats, etc.
...These diseases are in no way "new" - the term used is "emerging". The diseases have been around for ages but with the "global village" these pathogens are traveling further and faster than ever before. Ebola is no longer just a potential problem for isolated villages in Africa... I didn't mean to suggest (nor did L. Garrett) that reptiles were carriers - there is absolutely no evidence for that. But the possibility is certainly there. So far, for example, West Nile Virus has been isolated from over 60 species of birds, as well as dogs, cats, horses, bats, chipmunks, and etc. I don't think that finding WNV in a reptile species would cause much "shock" at the Centers for Disease Control.
...Also, snakes don't have to be large to be eaten. Sometimes small portions of them are consumed for their awesome medicinal powers. It's well known that cobra gall bladder is good for kidney stones. Or was that headaches. Or impotence. Or... Perhaps Mandarin tails are good for sunburn...