posted on Dec, 17 2009 @ 09:36 PM
1. Chicken Flu
Bird or Avian flu may not be the headline-maker now, but it has caused hundreds of human deaths over just the past decade, with chickens being the
most common source of contagion. Many birds are susceptible to influenza strains that may transmit to humans, but butchering, handling and other forms
of close contact heighten the risk. The H5N1 avian virus continues to be of concern because 60 percent of all humans who have contracted this illness
died after becoming infected. Asia was last strike by the Avian flu outbreak.
2. Pig Flu
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been monitoring swine flu for some time, since pigs can be infected with human and avian
viruses, in addition to their own pig-specific germs.
If an infection of more than one virus occurs simultaneously, recombination may occur. The latest strain appears to consist of "a virus that's 80
percent swine, with the rest being a mixture of avian and human viruses". World leaders are urging "concern" and not alarm over the Swine Flu
outbreak but the potential for pandemic exists since the disease is now spreading from person to person. Read WHO raises pandemic alert to
3. Duck Flu
Ducks are often raised for their meat, especially in Asia. Health experts, therefore, often monitor duck illnesses in China, Hong Kong, Thailand,
Vietnam and other Asian countries that have experienced avian flu outbreaks.
Ducks are more considered as carriers, however, than as direct threats and ducks seem less likely to spread influenza to humans, but that they can
infect other animals. Researchers in Mexico have not ruled out the possibility that a bird, such as a chicken or duck, was the original source of the
latest outbreak, which could have jumped to pigs and then humans.
4. Goose Flu
Both wild and domestic geese have been known to contract the infamous H5N1 virus. The birds' broad ranges can pose a problem: These birds can fly
1,000 miles a day at maximum. If geese raised for poultry come into contact with infected wild geese, the risk of influenza spreading to humans
increases. Most cases involving geese began with poultry workers in Asian countries who had direct contact with sick or dead birds.
5. Turkey Flu
While not all birds can catch the flu, most are susceptible to Type A influenza that may spread to humans. Turkeys are no exception. Earlier this
year, in fact, an H5 avian influenza virus surfaced on a turkey farm in southern British Columbia. It was quickly contained. Nevertheless, tens of
thousands of turkeys have been slaughtered in Canada and elsewhere when such infections have been identified.
In 2004, for example, British Columbia's Fraser River Valley experienced an outbreak that affected 40 commercial farms and led to the culling of 17
million birds, according to the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy. Suppliers maintain rigid guidelines to ensure public safety. We
often criticize factory farms, but in this case modern production has helped to reduce direct contact with animals, thus staving off infections. In
Asia and Mexico, many families live with their poultry and other animals raised for food, so they remain in close proximity to them.
6. Horse Flu
According to the CDC, horses too can become infected with Type A influenza viruses. People with horses must handle them a lot, particularly around the
facial area. When horses suffer from an influenza virus, they can cough, sneeze and have a runny nose just like we do. What's coughed out is of less
risk to humans than avian germs because most pathogens that infect horses become more species-specific.
7. Dog Flu
In 2004, cases of an unknown respiratory illness in dogs, initially racing greyhounds, were reported to the CDC. An investigation showed that this
respiratory illness was caused by the equine influenza A H3N8 virus.
Scientists believe that this virus jumped from horses to dogs, and can now spread from dog to dog, leading to the canine-specific H3N8 virus. Experts
consider the strain to be "a newly emerging pathogen in the dog population."
If it jumped from horses to dogs, could it move from dogs to humans? It's possible, but it would need a perfect storm. The moment of transfer would
have to involve the right person, the right place, the right animal and the right time.
8. Cat Flu
Cats, like dogs, enjoy close contact with people. While most experts believe that simple hand-washing can eliminate the risk of obtaining diseases
from pets, there is a possibility that both dogs and cats could spread a recombined form of avian influenza to humans.
Cases of tigers and domesticated cats coming down with avian flu have been reported overseas. In most, if not all cases, the animals had consumed dead
infected chickens or other birds. The easiest way to stave off such risks would be to monitor pets so they don't eat birds or any other wild,
potentially infected prey.
9. Seal Flu
While no "seal flu" has been known to spread to humans, the marine mammals can become infected with Type A influenza viruses. And other diseases
have crossed the human-seal species line. Some populations consisting of people who eat raw seal meat have been diagnosed with toxic parasitic
illnesses. Studies have shown that cooking reduces nearly all of this problem. Sushi lovers, time to think of the risk.
10. Whale Flu
Could a whale flu be in our future? Whales can suffer from influenza, probably by catching germs spread by bird waste. In theory, people could be
exposed to and infected by the virus if they came in close contact with infected whales or poorly cooked whale meat. But the risk of that happening,
not surprisingly, is very remote. It's really unlikely, because the ocean tends to dilute things. Again, such a scenario would need a perfect storm
since, as it stands, wild waterfowl, like seagulls, poop out the virus, which then has a slim chance of infecting whales.
With the emergence of goat flu it's just a matter of time before we're summoned to an ill-fated demise. Whether it be from the horse flu or from
contaminated toilet paper, one thing is clear. The end is near.