health

Much-maligned rats unlikely to spark next pandemic: study

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By Daniel Lawler

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For good and for bad all pathogens endemic to rats have already been "shared" with humans repeatedly. We already have ways to quickly identify and deal with them and therefore the chances of becoming a pandemic like COVID are minor.

But as the article mentions, as mediators of pathogens from wild animals they still carry importance, climate change, human activity disrupting the habitat of wild animals, etc. can mean a new pathogen can jump to human society at any moment, and rats could become a tiny step for those pathogens to spread initially before getting fully competent to be transmitted between humans.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

Some have suggested it might have risen from vaccines made from a contaminated simian cell line.

"All known subgroups of HIV-1 and HIV-2 are thought to have entered humans as distinct cross-species transmissions of Simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) from primates.[3][4]

SIV exists as distinct lineages that cluster in different species of primates.[3] HIV-1 is most similar to the SIV found in common chimpanzees (SIVcpz) in southeastern Cameroon, giving rise to the notion that HIV-1 emerged from chimpanzees in this area..[4] -- Wikipedia

Keele, Brandon F.; Van Heuverswyn, Fran; Li, Yingying; Bailes, Elizabeth; Takehisa, Jun; Santiago, Mario L.; Bibollet-Ruche, Frederic; Chen, Yalu; Wain, Louise V.; Liegeois, Florian; Loul, Severin (28 July 2006). "Chimpanzee reservoirs of pandemic and nonpandemic HIV-1". Science. 313 (5786): 523–526. Bibcode:2006Sci...313..523K. doi:10.1126/science.1126531. ISSN 1095-9203. PMC 2442710. PMID 16728595.
2 ( +3 / -1 )

So, if there is a 'threat', the more proximal target might be fleas... flea targeting insecticide laced rat baits may be a better option. 

Fleas would not be so important as vectors in the modern world, limiting contact with humans is now routine and most households never have problems with them. Even less important would be to de-flea the rats, because the purpose is not to reduce the contact with rats but with humans.

The most important point is that the main danger being explored is not about diseases constantly transmitted by rats or fleas to humans (easily interrupted by sanitation), but diseases that become adapted to be transmitted between humans, rats would be a much more likely step for this, because arthropod-borne pathogens are "too adapted" for their method of transmission to replace it with direct human-to-human spreading.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Rats unlikely to spark next pandemic, unless someone decides to do gain of function experiments.

Exactly zero pandemics have been related to human experimentation of any sort, pretending this is even likely (never mind more likely than the natural mechanism that originated every pandemic in history) only betrays a deep antiscientific basis. Specially when the research that allowed for the quick development of vaccines, that have saved countless lives was done frequently thanks to that gain of function research.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

Mostly we simply don't know enough yet to rule out anything.

Endlessly repeating something that is not an argument to say something is more likely, because it can be used the same for absolutely everything. For that you need evidence that puts that mechanism as more frequent/easy than the currently thought more risky ways.

If anybody says "sunlight could be infective and produce a pandemic" would "we don't know this is impossible" be an acceptable argument to prove this is more likely to happen than pathogens?

0 ( +4 / -4 )

*Exactly zero pandemics have been admitted to ...*

If your argument is completely dependent on world wide conspiracies then you don't have an argument. Read the article and you will find out how easily is to get new pathogens from the wild, and how much easier this will become in the future because of climate change and other factors.

Well then I guess Fauci has surrounded himself by "antiscientific" experts because their released Emails clearly show they thought the lab leak to be much more likely.

That is false and completely misrepresent the e-mails, when the information was completely absent people thought this could be a possibility, but the more data became available it became clear there was a complete abscense of things that would be necessary to think the virus was produced artificially and the epidemiological data clearly pointed to a natural origin.

Some have suggested it might have risen from vaccines made from a contaminated simian cell line

Without any credibility to the claim, because once again the natural transmission is much more likely just because of the frequency of the contact (and the absolute lack of identification of any contamination of any virus that could be related to HIV in any of the cells used in research, something that is very easily done with retroviruses).

0 ( +2 / -2 )

If a bat meets a rat and gives it a novel disease…

Yes, of course, that fiction sells much better than just having the guts to tell the truth and admitting that it all is produced intentionally and artificially by gain of function research and then being released from any of those worldwide located highest security level laboratories.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

...the mismanagement of the Chinese authorities at the beginning.

Yes, America did such a much better job. Who needs 'abortion' or 'euthanasia' when you have the trump, the CDC, and the U.S. government handling a pandemic? America! Number One! in COVID fatalities...

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Rats. Our most likely ancestors following the 65 million year old extraterrestrially motivated reset of the biological world of the time and, perhaps, if we don't eat them all before we, ourselves, follow the dinosaurs by our own hands, will be the future after this ongoing remorseless reset motivated by Human Greed-driven psychopathy and the general Human lack of perceptual capacity to see it. Life is not easy for these diminutive targets of all that is deadly in our world but where would we be had they never been? And who better to take over the mess we will leave behind?

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

The idea of zoonoses from rats is probably overblown given our constant proximity. For example, if there were a great risk, from what we see in the media, NYC would be the epicenter of a new wave of something every week.

Rats and mice are the prototype animal that is close enough to humans to transmit the diseases they carry and susceptible enough to new infections (not for nothing they are the most used animal models for infections) that they can become the step that a new pathogen needs in order to invade human society. The example of New York is not appropriate because it does not have the proximity of wild animals to worry about reservoirs exposing the rats to new pathogens, so the rats can only transmit the usual ones.

Other mammals can also become this "step", but it is relatively easier to control the exposure before the pathogen adapts to human to human transmission. You can cull sick chickens, pigs, horses, etc. when an outbreak of a pathogen is identified, and leaving alone wild animals is something recommended for the same reason.

But nobody is testing rats to see if they are sick of new pathogens in the same way, they are noticed only after human cases (or deaths) are identified, which increases the risk of the pathogen becoming transmissible between humans.

Also people do worry about human burden on non-human primates all the time, it is just that hunting and habitat destruction is a much more tangible danger to them than a human disease that spreads much more easily in human society than in the small groups the primates use for living. Pigs or chicken are farm animals that do not have any ecological role so the worry about diseases of them is mostly economical (because it becomes necessary to cull large populations of them), and rats are considered a pest, so eradication would be a plus, not a problem.

All examples are of course much more likely to happen than arthropods, precisely because of the much higher similarity in the receptors required for infection and the fact that pathogens do not require the invertebrate infection step so direct transmission is the default mechanism.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Yes, of course, that fiction sells much better than just having the guts to tell the truth and admitting that it all is produced intentionally and artificially by gain of function research and then being released from any of those worldwide located highest security level laboratories.

That "fiction" happens continuously and has been proved above any rational doubt, meanwhile the "truth" you believe is contradicted easily by the available evidence (molecular, epidemiological, historical). That you refuse to accept something is not the same as it being fiction. The experts such as the one quoted in the article are just much more likely to be correct than someone that willingly choose to ignore the evidence when it contradicts their personal beliefs.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Much-maligned rats unlikely to spark next pandemic: study

Is it possible that this ONE study turns out to be wrong?

Look where the world is now.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Oh yeah, and for many of the diseases which rats are accused of being responsible for spreading, most are actually vectored by fleas (e.g. Bubonic Plague). So, if there is a 'threat', the more proximal target might be fleas for which, rather than mammalian poisons laid out which kill so many other species as 'collateral damage' (cats, dogs, squirrels, et alia), flea targeting insecticide laced rat baits may be a better option. And the old European saying, "The city with cats doesn't have rats" is valid which Chicago recently discovered to be true when their rats became immune to the poisons laid out but the cats eating those rats died from the poisons accumulated in the rats' tissues and the rat population surged. Nature is a little more tricky than we are...

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

The idea of zoonoses from rats is probably overblown given our constant proximity. For example, if there were a great risk, from what we see in the media, NYC would be the epicenter of a new wave of something every week. It's thought that HIV came into the Human world through the eating of our close relatives the Chimpanzees. Whether this could be construed as karma for guasi-cannibalism would have to be in the eye of the perceptor, but H5N1-1918 came from eating another close relative of Humans, the pig, close enough to be potential organ donors and, as such, perfect agents for the introduction of new and exciting viruses into the Human herd. Oddly, we never consider what zoonoses WE might be burdening the rats (or the Chimpanzees or the pigs) with...always thinking just about ourselves...

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Rats unlikely to spark next pandemic, unless someone decides to do gain of function experiments.

Yes!

Exactly zero pandemics have been related to human experimentation of any sort,

Exactly zero pandemics have been admitted to ...

pretending this is even likely (never mind more likely than the natural mechanism that originated every pandemic in history) only betrays a deep antiscientific basis.

Well then I guess Fauci has surrounded himself by "antiscientific" experts because their released Emails clearly show they thought the lab leak to be much more likely.

It's thought that HIV came into the Human world through the eating of our close relatives the Chimpanzees.

Some have suggested it might have risen from vaccines made from a contaminated simian cell line.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Yes, America did such a much better job.

How many other countries can say their problems with the pandemic are directly a product of the mismanagement of the US? because every one can do it against China.

If a country have consequences because of their mismanagement they are just a victim of their own doings, but if they manage to affect the whole world their responsibility is higher in the same degree.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Is it possible that this ONE study turns out to be wrong?

Look where the world is now.

The situation of the world is a very strong argument for this study not to be wrong, because we are exactly as the scientists have predicted for decades if proper care was not taken to quickly identify and isolate emerging infectious diseases. Specially since the first SARS scare where the experts repeatedly said another coronavirus could result in a pandemic if it was more easily transmitted, exactly what happened thank to the mismanagement of the Chinese authorities at the beginning.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

[this should be inserted just after the quotation below or the continuity of the conversation will be confusing]

The most important point is that the main danger being explored is not about diseases constantly transmitted by rats or fleas to humans (easily interrupted by sanitation), but diseases that become adapted to be transmitted between humans, rats would be a much more likely step for this, because arthropod-borne pathogens are "too adapted" for their method of transmission to replace it with direct human-to-human spreading.

"Human ectoparasites and the spread of plague in Europe during the Second Pandemic"

Katharine R. Dean, et al. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, January 16, 2018 | 115 (6) 1304-1309

"Plague, caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis, can spread through human populations by multiple transmission pathways. Today, most human plague cases are bubonic, caused by spillover of infected fleas from rodent epizootics, or pneumonic, caused by inhalation of infectious droplets [from infected Humans]." [bubonic can transform into pneumonic in the infected host]

CDC

Flea-borne (murine [rat]) typhus — transmitted to people by infected cat fleas [after transfer from rat fleas], Ctenocephalides felis, infected Oriental rat fleas, Xenospylla cheopis, or their feces (poop; also called “flea dirt”)

Also: Tularemia, but more often by ticks and biting flies

[these are the ones we know, but novel zoonoses arising due to changing environmental conditions is one of the things this article addresses, and fleas have a high rate of reproduction and genetic adaptation, hence high potential for gaining new passengers]

From article: "Richardson said his research has found that urban rats harbor more than 200 pathogens and parasites that could jump over to humans, while nearly 80 percent of rats in some cities carry leptospirosis."

Mostly we simply don't know enough yet to rule out anything.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Rats unlikely to spark next pandemic, unless someone decides to do gain of function experiments.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

Rats abound in my neighborhood. Better start that gain of function studies soon. Calling Fauci and his buddies. WAIT! “Gain of function, lab” can’t say that. Remember that’s what they religiously fact checked. Wink wink wink

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

"Today, most human plague cases are bubonic, caused by spillover of infected fleas from rodent epizootics, or pneumonic, caused by inhalation of infectious droplets [from infected Humans]." [bubonic can transform into pneumonic in the infected host]"

The routes of transmission of disease in our world are many and, like COVID early on, not well understood as when 'airborne transmission' was being dismissed by armchair commenters. We are talking about potentially novel zoonoses and above we see an example of blood to blood species to species transmission via a third species vector followed by intraspecific transmission via airborne lung exudates. But, for rats AT THIS TIME, fleas are the major concern. And my only suggestion was that instead of trying to poison the rats and poisoning so much around them as a side effect, even the most efficient solution to their overpopulation (cats), we consider the most CURRENTLY worrisome aspect, their blood sucking, and highly transmissible, fleas. And if one bothers to learn some of the history of science, and especially of medicine, half of what 'practitioners' believe today will be garbage tomorrow as we continue to discover how much larger and more complex this Universe is than our meagre imaginations can now understand. And the one thing ANY good scientist KNOWS is how much we don't KNOW and how being certain that we KNOW is what caused the Dark Ages and is causing our impending extinction today. Perhaps it's just the 'tone' that is so irritating, the tone of 'Authority' but with assertion only as though the word of G-d. [shrug]

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

P.S.

CDC

Flea-borne (murine [rat]) typhus — transmitted to people by infected cat fleas [after transfer from rat fleas], Ctenocephalides felis, infected Oriental rat fleas, Xenospylla cheopis, or their feces (poop; also called “flea dirt”)

Flea borne Typhus is what killed so many thousands of the inmates of the concentration camps during the Winter of 1944-1945 after the Allies had cut off all outside aid to the camps of food, medicine, and heating fuel, things that even Berlin didn't have either, as "aid to the enemy". In those small worlds, it was certainly a 'pandemic'. The chemical Zyklon B was the agent used to fumigate inmate clothing to kill such vectors.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

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