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Coronavirus, COVID-19: From Pangolin, Snake Or Bat. Fact?
The coronavirus that originated in Wuhan, China, has killed 2.619+ people, 79.561+ people are proven infected worldwide with the coronavirus (Monday, 24-02-2020). The Coronavirus is a zoonotic disease, meaning it jumps from animals to humans.  The Coronivirus: What Was The Intermediate Host The SARS coronavirus, which killed 774 people in the early 2000s, jumped from bats to civets to people. The Wuhan coronavirus is also thought to have originated in bats, which may have passed the disease to snakes or Pangolins, which then passed it to humans. Snakes Could Be the Original Source of the New Coronavirus Outbreak in China. A study of the virus’s genetic sequence suggests similarities to that seen in snakes, but is it? Recommended:  Coronavirus COVID-19: Worse Then Thought: A Must Read Update SARS and MERS: The Bat, The Masked Palm Civet And Camels Both SARS and MERS are classified as zoonotic viral diseases, meaning the first patients who were infected acquired these viruses directly from animals. This was possible because while in the animal host, the virus had acquired a series of genetic mutations that allowed it to infect and multiply inside humans. How do docters test for SARS? Lab tests to detect SARS virus include a blood test, a nasal swab or a sample from your stool or urine, or growing the virus in culture. Now these viruses can be transmitted from person to person. Field studies have revealed that the original source of SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV is the bat, and that the masked palm civets (a mammal native to Asia and Africa) and camels, respectively, served as intermediate hosts between bats and humans. How do you test for MERS? Molecular Tests Real-time reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (rRT-PCR) assays are molecular tests that can be used to detect viral RNA in clinical samples.  Most state laboratories in the United States are approved to test for MERS-CoV by using an rRT-PCR assay developed by CDC. From Bats To Snakes: The Wuhan Market In the case of this 2019 coronavirus outbreak, reports state that most of the first group of patients hospitalized were workers or customers at a local seafood wholesale market which also sold processed meats and live consumable animals including: poultry, donkeys, sheep, pigs, camels, foxes, badgers, bamboo rats, hedgehogs and reptiles. However, since no one has ever reported finding a coronavirus infecting aquatic animals, it is plausible that the coronavirus may have originated from other animals sold in that market. The hypothesis that the 2019-nCoV jumped from an animal at the market is strongly supported by a new publication in the Journal of Medical Virology. The scientists conducted an analysis and compared the genetic sequences of 2019-nCoV and all other known coronaviruses. From Bats To Pangolins Some Chinese researchers investigating the pangolin as possible origin of the deadly coronavirus outbreak in China. Friday they said that the endangered pangolin may be the ‘missing link’ between bats and humans, but other scientists said the search may not be over. An earlier study pointed to snakes, and there remain numerous candidate species in the Wuhan wildlife market thought to be ground zero of the epidemic. But according to Arnaud Fontanet, from France's Pasteur Institute, the disease likely didn't jump straight from bats to humans. "We think there's another animal that's an intermediary." Fontanet believes the intermediary was ‘probably a mammal’, possible belonging to the badger family. {youtube}                                                              Pangolins - The world's most trafficked animal After testing more than 1,000 samples from wild animals, scientists at the South China Agricultural University found the genome sequences of viruses in pangolins to be 99 percent identical to those on coronavirus patients, the official Xinhua news agency reported. "This is not scientific evidence," said James Wood, head of the department of veterinary medicine at the University of Cambridge. "Investigations into animal reservoirs are extremely important, but results must be then be published for international scrutiny." "Simply reporting detection of viral RNA with sequence similarity of 99+ percent is not sufficient," he added. Eric Leroy, a virologist and vet at the IRD said the search could well turn up a result quickly like in the case of SARS. Equally, it could take years. Chinese Ferret Badger The study of the genetic code of 2019-nCoV reveals that the new virus is most closely related to two bat SARS-like coronavirus samples from China, initially suggesting that, like SARS and MERS, the bat might also be the origin of 2019-nCoV. The authors further found that the DNA coding sequence of 2019-nCoV spike protein, which forms the ‘crown’ of the virus particle that recognizes the receptor on a host cell, indicates that the bat virus might have mutated before infecting people. But when the researchers performed a more detailed bioinformatics analysis of the sequence of 2019-nCoV, it suggests that this coronavirus might come from snakes. Recommended:  Coronavirus, Flu And Climate Change: Is There A Connection? Coronavirus: Protein Codes From Snakes The researchers used an analysis of the protein codes favoured by the new coronavirus and compared it to the protein codes from coronaviruses found in different animal hosts, like birds, snakes, marmots, hedgehogs, manis, bats and humans. Surprisingly, they found that the protein codes in the 2019-nCoV are most similar to those used in snakes. What does a gene code for a protein? The journey from gene to protein is complex and tightly controlled within each cell. The type of RNA that contains the information for making a protein is called messenger RNA (mRNA) because it carries the information, or message, from the DNA out of the nucleus into the cytoplasm.                                                   Snakes Hunt Bats In A Cave | Planet Earth | BBC Earth Snakes often hunt for bats in wild . Reports indicate that snakes were sold in the local seafood market in Wuhan, raising the possibility that the 2019-nCoV might have jumped from the host species—bats—to snakes and then to humans at the beginning of this coronavirus outbreak. However, how the virus could adapt to both the cold-blooded and warm-blooded hosts remains a mystery. Researchers must verify the origin of the virus through laboratory experiments. Searching for the 2019-nCoV sequence in snakes would be the first thing to do. However, since the outbreak, the seafood market has been disinfected and shut down, which makes it challenging to trace the new virus’ source animal. Sampling DNA from animals sold at the market and from wild snakes and bats is needed to confirm the origin of the virus. Nonetheless, the reported findings will also provide insights for developing prevention and treatment protocols. Recommended:  Coronavirus: Bill Gates, 65 Million Death In A Simulation Coronavirus And Sars: Passed From Animals To Humans In a Wet Market The coronavirus spreading in China and the SARS outbreak of 2003 have two things in common: Both are from the coronavirus family and both were passed from animals to humans in a wet market. Poorly regulated live-animal markets mixed with illegal wildlife trade offer a unique opportunity for viruses to spill over from wildlife hosts into the human population. In the case of SARS, and probably this coronavirus outbreak too, bats were the original hosts. They then infected other animals via their poop or saliva, and the unwitting intermediaries transmitted the virus to humans. What does zoonotic mean? Zoonosis is another name for a zoonotic disease. This type of disease passes from an animal or insect to a human. Some don't make the animal sick but will sicken a human. Zoonotic diseases range from minor short-term illness to a major life-changing illness. Certain ones can even cause death. Chinese 'wet market'.  Coronavirus, COVID-19: Bats & Birds Reservoir Species For Viruses Bats and birds are considered reservoir species for viruses with pandemic potential according Bart Haagmans, a virologist at the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, Netherlands. In the past 45 years, at least three other pandemics (besides SARS) have been traced back to bats. The creatures were the original source of Ebola, which has killed 13,500 people in multiple outbreaks since 1976: Middle Eastern respiratory syndrome, better known as MERS, which can be found in 28 countries The Nipah virus, which has a 78% fatality rate The coronavirus might have jumped from bats to snakes to people Not all coronaviruses are deadly, the ones endemic to humans, like the common cold, are often considered inconsequential. The coronaviruses that pose a pandemic risk, however, are those that hang out in animals. Because these viruses have not been circulating in humans before, specific immunity to these viruses is absent in humans. Coronavirus: Wuhan Experts haven’t yet confirmed the animal species that enabled it to spread to people, but they have some guesses. Scientists in China compared the genetic code of the Wuhan coronavirus to other coronaviruses and found it to be most similar to two bat coronavirus samples. Coronaviris via The Chinese Cobra? There’s an indication that it’s a bat virus said Vincent Munster, a scientist at Rocky Mountain Laboratories. According to a group of scientists who edit the Journal of Medical Virology, the intermediary species in this case could be the Chinese cobra. How do Coronaviruses spread? Coronaviruses primarily spread through close contact with another individual, in particular through coughing and sneezing on somebody else who is within a range of about 3 to 6 feet from that person. If an infected person sneezes or coughs onto a surface a countertop, for example  and another person touches that surface and then rubs his or her eyes or nose, for example, the latter may get sick. That’s because further genetic analysis showed that the genetic building blocks of the Wuhan coronavirus closely resembled that of snakes. So the researchers think a population of bats could have infected snakes, which passed the virus to humans as they were being sold at the Huanan Wholesale Seafood Market in Wuhan. But the only way to be sure about where the virus came from is to take DNA samples from animals sold at that market and from wild snakes and bats in the area. Coronavirus: Why Bats Pose Such A Threat Bats harbour a significantly higher proportion of zoonotic viruses than other mammals, according to a 2017 study. Experts think that’s because bats can fly across large geographical ranges, transporting diseases as they go. That makes them an ideal host.  Bats pass along viruses in their poop: If they drop feces onto a piece of fruit that a different animal then eats, the creature can become a carrier. We know a fair amount of viruses on the World Health Organization’s Blueprint list of priority diseases have either a direct or indirect link with bats,” Munster said. (The list includes the SARS and MERS viruses.) Last March, a study even predicted that bats could be the source of a new coronavirus outbreak in China. It is highly likely that future SARS- or MERS-like coronavirus outbreaks will originate from bats, and there is an increased probability that this will occur in China. That’s because: The majority of coronaviruses – those that circulate both in humans and in animals – can be found in China Plus, the study authors said, most of the bat hosts of these coronaviruses live near humans in China, potentially transmitting viruses to humans and livestock The bat population from which the SARS virus originated, for example, lived in a cave just over 1 kilometre, or about half a mile, from the nearest village Similarly, a 2017 study warned that the risk of spill over into people and emergence of a disease similar to SARS is possible. The authors identified at least 300 separate strains of coronaviruses still circulating in bats. How SARS, MERS And Ebola Jumped From Bats To People Here are five viruses that most likely came from bats, and how the outbreaks compare. Researchers traced SARS to a population of horseshoe bats in China’s Yunnan province. Humans caught it from weasel-like mammals called masked palm civets at a wet market in Guangdong From 2002 to 2003, SARS killed 774 people across 29 countries and infected more than 8,000. Patients experienced fevers, headaches, and a type of deadly pneumonia that could cause respiratory failure MERS, similarly, passed from bats to dromedary camels in the Middle East. That coronavirus circulated in the camel population undetected for decades before jumping to humans in 2012. So far, 858 people have died in 28 countries from the illness, which comes with fever, cough, and shortness of breath In Southeast Asia, fruit bats were the original hosts of the deadly Nipah virus, which emerged in Malaysia in 1998 and then again in India in 2001. The bats passed it to farmed pigs, which gave it to people. Patients experienced headaches and vomiting; many slipped into a coma and died Fruit bats in Africa have played a major role in Ebola outbreaks since 1976. The worst Ebola outbreak in history, however, came from a population of long-fingered bats. More than 11,000 people were killed from 2013 to 2016. Fruit Bat Coronavirus: How To Prevent Zoonotic Diseases Like The Coronavirus From Spilling Over To People? At wet markets, the close proximity of shoppers to stall vendors and live and dead animals creates a prime breeding ground for zoonotic diseases. For cultural reasons in the region, people want to see the specific animals they’re buying be slaughtered in front of them, so they know they’re receiving the products they paid for,” according to Emily Langdon, an infectious disease specialist at University of Chicago Medicine. That means there’s a lot of skinning of dead animals in front of shoppers and, as a result, aerosolizing of all sorts of things. The most likely virus that might cause a new pandemic would be a coronavirus. We’re in an age of epidemics because: of globalization of encroachment on wild environments Coronavirus, COVID-19: Human Health And Climate Change Climate change produced many harmful effects on human health in Central China. The cardiovascu-lar mortalities increased year by year in Wuhan from 1998 to 2008. And the morbidity was highest in winter and lowest in summer. The increasing frequency and intensity of summer heat waves resulted in the increased risk of summer cardiovascular, respiratory system diseases and heat stroke. The regional precipitation became uneven in Central China, which caused more floods and increased risk of infectious diseases like malaria, Japanese encephalitis, and conjunctivitis. The incidence of intestinal infectious diseases increased from 66.04% to 80.97% in Hubei during 1991–1997. Climate Change Helped Snails Survive The Winter Season  Behavioural risks that leads to the emergence of bat coronaviruses in humans Bat borne coronaviruses have caused several emerging infectious disease outbreaks of global significance, including SARS. Novel SARS-related coronaviruses have been discovered in bat populations in Southern China, some of which have the capacity to infect human cells Human-animal interactions are thought to be critical for the emergence of bat coronaviruses, however the specific interactions linked to animal-to-human spill over remain unknown. Coronaviris: New Findings This study found serological evidence for bat-borne coronavirus transmission to people. Direct contact with bats was not identified as a risk factor. However, self-reported severe acute respiratory infection (SARI) and/or influenza-like illness (ILI) was linked to human interaction with other wildlife and livestock, suggesting that there may be other zoonotic exposures leading to clinical illness in these populations. Vendors wait for customers as dogs are kept in a cage at Dashichang dog market ahead of a local dog meat festival in Yulin, Guangxi Autonomous Region Human interaction with animals has been implicated as a primary risk factor for several high impact zoonoses, including many bat-origin viral diseases. However the animal-to-human spill over events that lead to emerging diseases are rarely observed or clinically examined, and the link between specific interactions and spill over risk is poorly understood. To investigate this phenomenon, researchers conducted biological-behavioural surveillance among rural residents in Yunnan, Guangxi, and Guangdong districts of Southern China, where we have identified a number of SARS-related coronaviruses in bats. Serum samples were tested for four bat-borne coronaviruses using newly developed enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA). Survey data were used to characterize associations between human-animal contact and bat coronavirus spill over risk. Coronavirus From Animals To Humans A total of 1,596 residents were enrolled in the study from 2015 to 2017 Nine participants (0.6%) tested positive for bat coronaviruses . 265 (17%) participants reported severe acute respiratory infections (SARI) and/or influenza-like illness (ILI) symptoms in the past year, which were associated with poultry, carnivore, rodent/shrew, or bat contact, with variability by family income and district of residence. This study provides serological evidence of bat coronavirus spill over in rural communities in Southern China. The low seroprevalence observed in this study suggests that bat coronavirus spill over is a rare event. Nonetheless, this study highlights associations between human-animal interaction and zoonotic spill over risk. These findings can be used to support targeted biological behavioural surveillance in high-risk geographic areas in order to reduce the risk of zoonotic disease emergence. Coronavirus, COVID-19: Interaction Between Humans And Animals A health Risk? In the highly biodiverse southern region of China, interactions among humans, wildlife, and livestock are likely to be common, and are hypothesized to be a risk factor in the emergence of zoonotic infectious diseases. Human-animal interactions may pose a particular public health threat in rural communities where frequent contact with animals occurs and where disease prevention measures are likely less well-developed. What is a hypothesis? In science, a hypothesis is an idea or explanation that you then test through study and experimentation. Outside science, a theory or guess can also be called a hypothesis. A hypothesis is something more than a wild guess but less than a well-established theory. Although human-animal interactions are thought to be associated with zoonotic disease emergence, few studies have addressed the nature of specific interactions that occur between animals (particularly wild animals) and humans that lead to pathogen spill over. Bats (order Chiroptera) are reservoirs of a large number of zoonotic viruses, including coronaviruses (CoVs) that have caused disease outbreaks in human and livestock populations Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV), the causative agent of the SARS outbreak affecting 32 countries in 2002-3, infecting 8,096 people and causing 774 deaths Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), which has caused 823 deaths from 2,374 human cases in 27 countries by the end of February 2019, and is thought to have originally spilled over from bats into camels , in which is it now endemic Severe acute diarrhoea syndrome coronavirus (SADS-CoV) which emerged in the pig population of Southern China and caused the deaths of more than 20,000 piglets in 2017 and 2018 A large diversity of coronaviruses, including SARS-related Coronaviruses (SARSr-CoVs), has been discovered in bats, and phylogenetic and pathogenesis studies of these suggest a high capacity for transmission across species barriers. However, few studies have analysed bat-to-human spill over events in non-outbreak conditions, likely due to the rarity of these events and difficulties in identifying at-risk populations or target geographies. Additionally, the symptoms of novel bat coronavirus infection in the human population may not be clinically recognized at the time of emergence as a result of a lack of adequate surveillance or confusion with other diseases. This represents a significant biosafety risk considering the large and increasing number of coronaviruses discovered in bats and the wide distribution of bat populations in rural regions such as Southern China. We report on a study designed to characterize the bat coronavirus spill over potential associated with presumed high-risk human behaviour in rural communities of Southern China. Human Populations Close To bats And Wildlife A cross-sectional study was done in the districts of Yunnan, Guangxi, and Guangdong, China, which are known for their high levels of wildlife biodiversity, active wildlife trade activity, and historic zoonotic disease emergence events. Eight study sites were selected in areas where we have previously reported diverse coronaviruses in bat populations roosting close (within 5 km) to human dwellings. The study targeted human populations that are highly exposed to bats and other wildlife, including people who visit or work around bat caves, work in local live animal markets, raise animals, or are involved in wildlife trade (e.g., wild animal harvest, trade, transportation, and preparation), as identified by previous exploratory ethnographic interviews. Recruitment and sampling We aimed to obtain a minimum sample size of 400 participants from each of the three districts (Yunnan, Guangxi, and Guangdong), for a total sample size of over 1,200 participants. A snowball sampling method was used because the population size at selected sites and the people who were highly exposed to wild animals were difficult to elucidate. Results From October 2015 to July 2017, a total of 1,596 residents from eight sites in Yunnan (n=761), Guangxi (n=412), and Guangdong (n=423) provinces were enrolled in this study. Of these, 1,585 participants completed the questionnaires and 11 participants withdrew from the questionnaire interview due to scheduling reasons. After the interviews, 1,497 participants provided biological samples for lab analysis. Demographics More female (62%) than male (38%) community members participated in this study. Most participants were adults over 45 years old (69%) and had been living in the community for more than 5 years (97%) with their family members (95%). A majority (86%) relied on a comparatively low family annual per capita income less than 10,000 RMB which is below the national mean for per capita disposable income of rural households from 2015 to 2017 (11,422 - 13,432 RMB). Most participants (98%) had not received a college education and were making a living in crop production (76%). 9% of participants frequently traveled outside the county as migrant laborers. Some participants were working in sectors where frequent human-animal contact occurs, such as the animal production business (1.7%), wild animal trade (0.5%), slaughterhouses or abattoirs (0.5%), protected nature reserve rangers (0.4%) or in wildlife restaurants (0.3%). It was common for participants to have multiple part-time jobs as income sources (Table 1) Animal contact and exposure to bat Coronaviruses Serological testing of serum samples from 1,497 local residents revealed that 9 individuals (0.6%) in four study sites were positive for bat coronaviruses, indicating exposure at some point in their life to bat-borne SARSr-CoVs and HKU10-CoV or other coronaviruses that are phylogenetically closely related to these. All individuals who tested positive (male=6, female=3) were over 45 years old, and most (n=8) were making a living from crop production. None of those participants reported any symptoms in the 12 months preceding the interview. Due to the low rate of sero-positivity, we did not obtain robust results from the statistical comparisons of animal-contact behaviour by coronavirus outcome. Among the 1,585 participants who responded, 265 (17%) reported experiencing SARI (n = 73) and/or ILI (n = 227) symptoms in the last year. Some demographic variables were associated with self-reported SARI and/or ILI symptoms as either independent or interactive terms. For example, respondents aged 41 to 60 and residents of Yunnan province were less likely to report symptoms. Slaughtering poultry was positively associated with the outcome only in Guangxi residents, whereas the association was negative in Guangdong residents. Family income also showed interactions, with family income less than 10,000 RMB being positively associated with the outcome in respondents who raised poultry but negatively associated in respondents who cooked or handled poultry. Gender was not found to be salient in either direction. Attitudes towards zoonotic diseases emergence When asked about animals and disease transmission, more than half of the study participants believed that animals could spread disease and were worried about disease emergence from animals at wet markets. Of those worried about disease emergence, 46% purchased animals from wet markets in the past 12 months. Among all participants who purchased animals from wet markets in the past 12 months 32%), some  39% took protection measures or strategies such as washing hands, purchasing live animals less often 30%, or purchasing meat at supermarkets instead of live animal markets. Very few participants considered wearing a mask 1% or gloves  1%) while visiting the markets. Discussion Used was a novel human surveillance approach to integrate serological and behavioural data to characterize associations between human-animal contact and zoonotic disease spill over risk in Southern China. This study provides the first serological evidence of bat-borne SARSr-CoVs and HKU10-CoV transmission to people and highlights potential spill over pathways through animal contact. Given the high diversity and recombination rate of bat coronaviruses , and close relationship of SARSr-CoVs to SARS-CoV, it is possible that exposure to these coronaviruses may lead to disease emergence in human populations. Continuous surveillance of both human and bat populations, as well as further pathogenesis studies of these viruses, are important to determine the extent of the disease risk.Contact with animals was prevalent among the survey population. Raising poultry and having rodents/shrews in the house were the most common types of contact. It’s important to note that the questionnaire used broad classification of the type of animals for these exposures due to the presumed variability in respondent’s capacity to identify species or genera of wildlife. It is likely that the most significant exposure we identified (to carnivores) reflects animals as diverse as civets, porcupines, ferret badgers and taxas that respondents recognized as non-rodent and non-shrew. This study also assessed health risks from human interaction activities for each study participant in the survey based on their travel history and the health history of people who they lived with. The goal was to minimize the possibility that illness was caused by human-to-human transmission of pathogens causing ILI and/or SARI symptoms. researchers did not find evidence supporting a direct relationship between bat contact and bat coronavirus sero-positivity in the human population . However, there is frequent contact with domestic animals in these communities and it is known that other bat-borne viruses have been transmitted to humans via livestock (e.g. henipavirses and filoviruses). It is possible that these findings reflect other indirect exposures to bat CoVs, and future surveillance may benefit from including a wide range of livestock and peri-domestic animals in viral and serological studies to identify potential spill over pathways. While the majority of survey respondents believed that animals could spread disease and were worried about disease emergence from animals at wet markets, many did not take measures to protect themselves from exposure. Further work on what drives these local attitudes to risk may help in developing risk-mitigation behaviour change programs. A number of affordable and readily adaptable measures could be targeted to these at-risk populations, including the use of gloves and masks while killing or butchering animals, and handwashing. The low levels of sero-positivity found in the study could reflect a number of factors: the rarity of spill over and bat-to-human transmission, as has been reported for other virus-host systems the use of a snowball technique for sample selection that could have biased the population sampled the limited diversity of CoVs that this study tested for the possibility that these infections cause high mortality rates and therefore the number of survivors and number of seropositive people is low, although this seems unlikely because the mortality rate from SARS was >10% during an outbreak that included hospital exposure and therefore likely high infectious doses that antibodies to these viruses wane rapidly in humans. The latter hypothesis is supported by findings that antibodies to SARS decline rapidly (2–3 years) after illness. Expanding this approach to a larger population, using a longitudinal (repeated sampling) approach, and targeting people who are in the higher-risk categories identified here may provide a larger number of sero-positives and more critical information on the driving factors of viral spill over. However, despite the small sample sizes, this study suggests that there are a substantial number of people in rural Southern China who are exposed to bat-borne viruses, and that exposure likely occurs through the daily or normal practices of rural communities, rather than specific high-risk behaviours (e.g. wild animal hunting). Considering the proven potential of some SARSr-CoVs currently circulating in bats in southern China, to infect human cells, cause clinical signs in humanized mouse models, and lead to infections that cannot be treated with monoclonal therapies effective against SARS-CoV this represents a clear and present danger to our biosafety and public health. Further studies to determine the relationship between SARSr-CoV and HKU10-CoV exposure and illness in people may help elucidate this risk and provide critical mitigation strategies. What About the Bats? Bat populations in China appear to have decreased considerably in the last 30 years. China has a rich bat fauna, with 100 species described and taxonomic research on bats has increased in the last 2 decades. Four reasons may have been responsible: Extensive pesticide use has resulted in bioaccumulation in bats, reducing their survival Many old buildings were demolished during urbanization, reducing the availability of suitable roost sites People often include bats in their diet, and bats are served in restaurants. We make recommendations for improving bat conservation in China. Education programmes about bat conservation should be provided for adults and schoolchildren, and laws for protecting bats need to be enacted and enforced. The roosting sites of bats should be protected comprehensively, and pesticide use should be regulated Cave exploitation for tourism has changed the atmosphere and temperature in caves,disturbing bats directly The flow of visitors causes fluctuations in carbon dioxide content and temperature, and cave topography and dimensions affect the accumulation and diffusion of the gas, disturbing bats directly for example, the maximum CO2 content increased from 1,000 to 7,000 ppm in the chamber in Baiyun Cave, Hebei, after c. 3,000 people visited for 5 hours, and the temperature increased from 16.8 to 19.6. The effects of disturbance on bats and other cave fauna have seldom been studied in China. Lighting schemes have been installed for visitors without any consideration of the effects on bats and other cave animals, paths have been constructed, and gates at cave entrances for managing visitors are often unsuitable for flying bats to negotiate. The population of fruit bat Rousettus leschenaulti in Yiling Cave in Guangxi Province, for example, decreased from c. 5,000 to 2,000 after cave tourism was implemented in 1993. Yiling Cave in Guangxi Province Based on surveys of bats in China, combined with enquiries to local people, we estimate that the bat population may have decreased by 60% in the last 30 years. Bats provide important ecosystem services, pollinating plants, dispersing seeds and controlling pests. However many people in China regard bats as vermin because some species feed on economically important fruits, such as longan and litchi. Bats are also regarded as nefarious animals because they fly in the dark. Before the emergence of the SARS virus many restaurants in Guangzhou and other cities in south China offered bats, and live bats were also sold in markets. In some remote villages our surveys have repeatedly revealed that local people capture wild bats to eat, to meet their protein requirements. We have also found bamboo wattles, used to kill bats, in caves. There are additional factors causing decreases of bat populations in China. Many forests were destroyed during the Cultural Revolution (1966–1976) and vast steel-making and iron-smelting facilities were established, resulting in the loss of many roosting sites and foraging areas. Recently, many small paper mills have been built, resulting in the clear-cutting of forests and their replacement with the fast growing eucalypts that are preferred by the mills. We have found that many limestone hills excavated to make cement have lost their bat-roosting caves. No bat species are included in the lists of wildlife under special state protection (1989 Law of the People’s Republic of China on the Protection of Wildlife), and no nature reserves protect bat species or their roost sites. The 2019-nCoV outbreak is another reminder that people should limit the consumption of wild animals to prevent zoonotic infections. Before you go! Recommended:  Climate Change Causes Nature To Change: The World Affected Did you find this an interesting article or do you have a question or remark? Leave a comment below. We try to respond the same day. Like to write your own article about the change in wildlife? Click on  'Re g ister'  or push the button 'Write An Article' on the  'HomePage'
The coronavirus that originated in Wuhan, China, has killed 2.619+ people, 79.561+ people are proven infected worldwide with the coronavirus (Monday, 24-02-2020). The Coronavirus is a zoonotic disease, meaning it jumps from animals to humans.  The Coronivirus: What Was The Intermediate Host The SARS coronavirus, which killed 774 people in the early 2000s, jumped from bats to civets to people. The Wuhan coronavirus is also thought to have originated in bats, which may have passed the disease to snakes or Pangolins, which then passed it to humans. Snakes Could Be the Original Source of the New Coronavirus Outbreak in China. A study of the virus’s genetic sequence suggests similarities to that seen in snakes, but is it? Recommended:  Coronavirus COVID-19: Worse Then Thought: A Must Read Update SARS and MERS: The Bat, The Masked Palm Civet And Camels Both SARS and MERS are classified as zoonotic viral diseases, meaning the first patients who were infected acquired these viruses directly from animals. This was possible because while in the animal host, the virus had acquired a series of genetic mutations that allowed it to infect and multiply inside humans. How do docters test for SARS? Lab tests to detect SARS virus include a blood test, a nasal swab or a sample from your stool or urine, or growing the virus in culture. Now these viruses can be transmitted from person to person. Field studies have revealed that the original source of SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV is the bat, and that the masked palm civets (a mammal native to Asia and Africa) and camels, respectively, served as intermediate hosts between bats and humans. How do you test for MERS? Molecular Tests Real-time reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (rRT-PCR) assays are molecular tests that can be used to detect viral RNA in clinical samples.  Most state laboratories in the United States are approved to test for MERS-CoV by using an rRT-PCR assay developed by CDC. From Bats To Snakes: The Wuhan Market In the case of this 2019 coronavirus outbreak, reports state that most of the first group of patients hospitalized were workers or customers at a local seafood wholesale market which also sold processed meats and live consumable animals including: poultry, donkeys, sheep, pigs, camels, foxes, badgers, bamboo rats, hedgehogs and reptiles. However, since no one has ever reported finding a coronavirus infecting aquatic animals, it is plausible that the coronavirus may have originated from other animals sold in that market. The hypothesis that the 2019-nCoV jumped from an animal at the market is strongly supported by a new publication in the Journal of Medical Virology. The scientists conducted an analysis and compared the genetic sequences of 2019-nCoV and all other known coronaviruses. From Bats To Pangolins Some Chinese researchers investigating the pangolin as possible origin of the deadly coronavirus outbreak in China. Friday they said that the endangered pangolin may be the ‘missing link’ between bats and humans, but other scientists said the search may not be over. An earlier study pointed to snakes, and there remain numerous candidate species in the Wuhan wildlife market thought to be ground zero of the epidemic. But according to Arnaud Fontanet, from France's Pasteur Institute, the disease likely didn't jump straight from bats to humans. "We think there's another animal that's an intermediary." Fontanet believes the intermediary was ‘probably a mammal’, possible belonging to the badger family. {youtube}                                                              Pangolins - The world's most trafficked animal After testing more than 1,000 samples from wild animals, scientists at the South China Agricultural University found the genome sequences of viruses in pangolins to be 99 percent identical to those on coronavirus patients, the official Xinhua news agency reported. "This is not scientific evidence," said James Wood, head of the department of veterinary medicine at the University of Cambridge. "Investigations into animal reservoirs are extremely important, but results must be then be published for international scrutiny." "Simply reporting detection of viral RNA with sequence similarity of 99+ percent is not sufficient," he added. Eric Leroy, a virologist and vet at the IRD said the search could well turn up a result quickly like in the case of SARS. Equally, it could take years. Chinese Ferret Badger The study of the genetic code of 2019-nCoV reveals that the new virus is most closely related to two bat SARS-like coronavirus samples from China, initially suggesting that, like SARS and MERS, the bat might also be the origin of 2019-nCoV. The authors further found that the DNA coding sequence of 2019-nCoV spike protein, which forms the ‘crown’ of the virus particle that recognizes the receptor on a host cell, indicates that the bat virus might have mutated before infecting people. But when the researchers performed a more detailed bioinformatics analysis of the sequence of 2019-nCoV, it suggests that this coronavirus might come from snakes. Recommended:  Coronavirus, Flu And Climate Change: Is There A Connection? Coronavirus: Protein Codes From Snakes The researchers used an analysis of the protein codes favoured by the new coronavirus and compared it to the protein codes from coronaviruses found in different animal hosts, like birds, snakes, marmots, hedgehogs, manis, bats and humans. Surprisingly, they found that the protein codes in the 2019-nCoV are most similar to those used in snakes. What does a gene code for a protein? The journey from gene to protein is complex and tightly controlled within each cell. The type of RNA that contains the information for making a protein is called messenger RNA (mRNA) because it carries the information, or message, from the DNA out of the nucleus into the cytoplasm.                                                   Snakes Hunt Bats In A Cave | Planet Earth | BBC Earth Snakes often hunt for bats in wild . Reports indicate that snakes were sold in the local seafood market in Wuhan, raising the possibility that the 2019-nCoV might have jumped from the host species—bats—to snakes and then to humans at the beginning of this coronavirus outbreak. However, how the virus could adapt to both the cold-blooded and warm-blooded hosts remains a mystery. Researchers must verify the origin of the virus through laboratory experiments. Searching for the 2019-nCoV sequence in snakes would be the first thing to do. However, since the outbreak, the seafood market has been disinfected and shut down, which makes it challenging to trace the new virus’ source animal. Sampling DNA from animals sold at the market and from wild snakes and bats is needed to confirm the origin of the virus. Nonetheless, the reported findings will also provide insights for developing prevention and treatment protocols. Recommended:  Coronavirus: Bill Gates, 65 Million Death In A Simulation Coronavirus And Sars: Passed From Animals To Humans In a Wet Market The coronavirus spreading in China and the SARS outbreak of 2003 have two things in common: Both are from the coronavirus family and both were passed from animals to humans in a wet market. Poorly regulated live-animal markets mixed with illegal wildlife trade offer a unique opportunity for viruses to spill over from wildlife hosts into the human population. In the case of SARS, and probably this coronavirus outbreak too, bats were the original hosts. They then infected other animals via their poop or saliva, and the unwitting intermediaries transmitted the virus to humans. What does zoonotic mean? Zoonosis is another name for a zoonotic disease. This type of disease passes from an animal or insect to a human. Some don't make the animal sick but will sicken a human. Zoonotic diseases range from minor short-term illness to a major life-changing illness. Certain ones can even cause death. Chinese 'wet market'.  Coronavirus, COVID-19: Bats & Birds Reservoir Species For Viruses Bats and birds are considered reservoir species for viruses with pandemic potential according Bart Haagmans, a virologist at the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, Netherlands. In the past 45 years, at least three other pandemics (besides SARS) have been traced back to bats. The creatures were the original source of Ebola, which has killed 13,500 people in multiple outbreaks since 1976: Middle Eastern respiratory syndrome, better known as MERS, which can be found in 28 countries The Nipah virus, which has a 78% fatality rate The coronavirus might have jumped from bats to snakes to people Not all coronaviruses are deadly, the ones endemic to humans, like the common cold, are often considered inconsequential. The coronaviruses that pose a pandemic risk, however, are those that hang out in animals. Because these viruses have not been circulating in humans before, specific immunity to these viruses is absent in humans. Coronavirus: Wuhan Experts haven’t yet confirmed the animal species that enabled it to spread to people, but they have some guesses. Scientists in China compared the genetic code of the Wuhan coronavirus to other coronaviruses and found it to be most similar to two bat coronavirus samples. Coronaviris via The Chinese Cobra? There’s an indication that it’s a bat virus said Vincent Munster, a scientist at Rocky Mountain Laboratories. According to a group of scientists who edit the Journal of Medical Virology, the intermediary species in this case could be the Chinese cobra. How do Coronaviruses spread? Coronaviruses primarily spread through close contact with another individual, in particular through coughing and sneezing on somebody else who is within a range of about 3 to 6 feet from that person. If an infected person sneezes or coughs onto a surface a countertop, for example  and another person touches that surface and then rubs his or her eyes or nose, for example, the latter may get sick. That’s because further genetic analysis showed that the genetic building blocks of the Wuhan coronavirus closely resembled that of snakes. So the researchers think a population of bats could have infected snakes, which passed the virus to humans as they were being sold at the Huanan Wholesale Seafood Market in Wuhan. But the only way to be sure about where the virus came from is to take DNA samples from animals sold at that market and from wild snakes and bats in the area. Coronavirus: Why Bats Pose Such A Threat Bats harbour a significantly higher proportion of zoonotic viruses than other mammals, according to a 2017 study. Experts think that’s because bats can fly across large geographical ranges, transporting diseases as they go. That makes them an ideal host.  Bats pass along viruses in their poop: If they drop feces onto a piece of fruit that a different animal then eats, the creature can become a carrier. We know a fair amount of viruses on the World Health Organization’s Blueprint list of priority diseases have either a direct or indirect link with bats,” Munster said. (The list includes the SARS and MERS viruses.) Last March, a study even predicted that bats could be the source of a new coronavirus outbreak in China. It is highly likely that future SARS- or MERS-like coronavirus outbreaks will originate from bats, and there is an increased probability that this will occur in China. That’s because: The majority of coronaviruses – those that circulate both in humans and in animals – can be found in China Plus, the study authors said, most of the bat hosts of these coronaviruses live near humans in China, potentially transmitting viruses to humans and livestock The bat population from which the SARS virus originated, for example, lived in a cave just over 1 kilometre, or about half a mile, from the nearest village Similarly, a 2017 study warned that the risk of spill over into people and emergence of a disease similar to SARS is possible. The authors identified at least 300 separate strains of coronaviruses still circulating in bats. How SARS, MERS And Ebola Jumped From Bats To People Here are five viruses that most likely came from bats, and how the outbreaks compare. Researchers traced SARS to a population of horseshoe bats in China’s Yunnan province. Humans caught it from weasel-like mammals called masked palm civets at a wet market in Guangdong From 2002 to 2003, SARS killed 774 people across 29 countries and infected more than 8,000. Patients experienced fevers, headaches, and a type of deadly pneumonia that could cause respiratory failure MERS, similarly, passed from bats to dromedary camels in the Middle East. That coronavirus circulated in the camel population undetected for decades before jumping to humans in 2012. So far, 858 people have died in 28 countries from the illness, which comes with fever, cough, and shortness of breath In Southeast Asia, fruit bats were the original hosts of the deadly Nipah virus, which emerged in Malaysia in 1998 and then again in India in 2001. The bats passed it to farmed pigs, which gave it to people. Patients experienced headaches and vomiting; many slipped into a coma and died Fruit bats in Africa have played a major role in Ebola outbreaks since 1976. The worst Ebola outbreak in history, however, came from a population of long-fingered bats. More than 11,000 people were killed from 2013 to 2016. Fruit Bat Coronavirus: How To Prevent Zoonotic Diseases Like The Coronavirus From Spilling Over To People? At wet markets, the close proximity of shoppers to stall vendors and live and dead animals creates a prime breeding ground for zoonotic diseases. For cultural reasons in the region, people want to see the specific animals they’re buying be slaughtered in front of them, so they know they’re receiving the products they paid for,” according to Emily Langdon, an infectious disease specialist at University of Chicago Medicine. That means there’s a lot of skinning of dead animals in front of shoppers and, as a result, aerosolizing of all sorts of things. The most likely virus that might cause a new pandemic would be a coronavirus. We’re in an age of epidemics because: of globalization of encroachment on wild environments Coronavirus, COVID-19: Human Health And Climate Change Climate change produced many harmful effects on human health in Central China. The cardiovascu-lar mortalities increased year by year in Wuhan from 1998 to 2008. And the morbidity was highest in winter and lowest in summer. The increasing frequency and intensity of summer heat waves resulted in the increased risk of summer cardiovascular, respiratory system diseases and heat stroke. The regional precipitation became uneven in Central China, which caused more floods and increased risk of infectious diseases like malaria, Japanese encephalitis, and conjunctivitis. The incidence of intestinal infectious diseases increased from 66.04% to 80.97% in Hubei during 1991–1997. Climate Change Helped Snails Survive The Winter Season  Behavioural risks that leads to the emergence of bat coronaviruses in humans Bat borne coronaviruses have caused several emerging infectious disease outbreaks of global significance, including SARS. Novel SARS-related coronaviruses have been discovered in bat populations in Southern China, some of which have the capacity to infect human cells Human-animal interactions are thought to be critical for the emergence of bat coronaviruses, however the specific interactions linked to animal-to-human spill over remain unknown. Coronaviris: New Findings This study found serological evidence for bat-borne coronavirus transmission to people. Direct contact with bats was not identified as a risk factor. However, self-reported severe acute respiratory infection (SARI) and/or influenza-like illness (ILI) was linked to human interaction with other wildlife and livestock, suggesting that there may be other zoonotic exposures leading to clinical illness in these populations. Vendors wait for customers as dogs are kept in a cage at Dashichang dog market ahead of a local dog meat festival in Yulin, Guangxi Autonomous Region Human interaction with animals has been implicated as a primary risk factor for several high impact zoonoses, including many bat-origin viral diseases. However the animal-to-human spill over events that lead to emerging diseases are rarely observed or clinically examined, and the link between specific interactions and spill over risk is poorly understood. To investigate this phenomenon, researchers conducted biological-behavioural surveillance among rural residents in Yunnan, Guangxi, and Guangdong districts of Southern China, where we have identified a number of SARS-related coronaviruses in bats. Serum samples were tested for four bat-borne coronaviruses using newly developed enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA). Survey data were used to characterize associations between human-animal contact and bat coronavirus spill over risk. Coronavirus From Animals To Humans A total of 1,596 residents were enrolled in the study from 2015 to 2017 Nine participants (0.6%) tested positive for bat coronaviruses . 265 (17%) participants reported severe acute respiratory infections (SARI) and/or influenza-like illness (ILI) symptoms in the past year, which were associated with poultry, carnivore, rodent/shrew, or bat contact, with variability by family income and district of residence. This study provides serological evidence of bat coronavirus spill over in rural communities in Southern China. The low seroprevalence observed in this study suggests that bat coronavirus spill over is a rare event. Nonetheless, this study highlights associations between human-animal interaction and zoonotic spill over risk. These findings can be used to support targeted biological behavioural surveillance in high-risk geographic areas in order to reduce the risk of zoonotic disease emergence. Coronavirus, COVID-19: Interaction Between Humans And Animals A health Risk? In the highly biodiverse southern region of China, interactions among humans, wildlife, and livestock are likely to be common, and are hypothesized to be a risk factor in the emergence of zoonotic infectious diseases. Human-animal interactions may pose a particular public health threat in rural communities where frequent contact with animals occurs and where disease prevention measures are likely less well-developed. What is a hypothesis? In science, a hypothesis is an idea or explanation that you then test through study and experimentation. Outside science, a theory or guess can also be called a hypothesis. A hypothesis is something more than a wild guess but less than a well-established theory. Although human-animal interactions are thought to be associated with zoonotic disease emergence, few studies have addressed the nature of specific interactions that occur between animals (particularly wild animals) and humans that lead to pathogen spill over. Bats (order Chiroptera) are reservoirs of a large number of zoonotic viruses, including coronaviruses (CoVs) that have caused disease outbreaks in human and livestock populations Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV), the causative agent of the SARS outbreak affecting 32 countries in 2002-3, infecting 8,096 people and causing 774 deaths Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), which has caused 823 deaths from 2,374 human cases in 27 countries by the end of February 2019, and is thought to have originally spilled over from bats into camels , in which is it now endemic Severe acute diarrhoea syndrome coronavirus (SADS-CoV) which emerged in the pig population of Southern China and caused the deaths of more than 20,000 piglets in 2017 and 2018 A large diversity of coronaviruses, including SARS-related Coronaviruses (SARSr-CoVs), has been discovered in bats, and phylogenetic and pathogenesis studies of these suggest a high capacity for transmission across species barriers. However, few studies have analysed bat-to-human spill over events in non-outbreak conditions, likely due to the rarity of these events and difficulties in identifying at-risk populations or target geographies. Additionally, the symptoms of novel bat coronavirus infection in the human population may not be clinically recognized at the time of emergence as a result of a lack of adequate surveillance or confusion with other diseases. This represents a significant biosafety risk considering the large and increasing number of coronaviruses discovered in bats and the wide distribution of bat populations in rural regions such as Southern China. We report on a study designed to characterize the bat coronavirus spill over potential associated with presumed high-risk human behaviour in rural communities of Southern China. Human Populations Close To bats And Wildlife A cross-sectional study was done in the districts of Yunnan, Guangxi, and Guangdong, China, which are known for their high levels of wildlife biodiversity, active wildlife trade activity, and historic zoonotic disease emergence events. Eight study sites were selected in areas where we have previously reported diverse coronaviruses in bat populations roosting close (within 5 km) to human dwellings. The study targeted human populations that are highly exposed to bats and other wildlife, including people who visit or work around bat caves, work in local live animal markets, raise animals, or are involved in wildlife trade (e.g., wild animal harvest, trade, transportation, and preparation), as identified by previous exploratory ethnographic interviews. Recruitment and sampling We aimed to obtain a minimum sample size of 400 participants from each of the three districts (Yunnan, Guangxi, and Guangdong), for a total sample size of over 1,200 participants. A snowball sampling method was used because the population size at selected sites and the people who were highly exposed to wild animals were difficult to elucidate. Results From October 2015 to July 2017, a total of 1,596 residents from eight sites in Yunnan (n=761), Guangxi (n=412), and Guangdong (n=423) provinces were enrolled in this study. Of these, 1,585 participants completed the questionnaires and 11 participants withdrew from the questionnaire interview due to scheduling reasons. After the interviews, 1,497 participants provided biological samples for lab analysis. Demographics More female (62%) than male (38%) community members participated in this study. Most participants were adults over 45 years old (69%) and had been living in the community for more than 5 years (97%) with their family members (95%). A majority (86%) relied on a comparatively low family annual per capita income less than 10,000 RMB which is below the national mean for per capita disposable income of rural households from 2015 to 2017 (11,422 - 13,432 RMB). Most participants (98%) had not received a college education and were making a living in crop production (76%). 9% of participants frequently traveled outside the county as migrant laborers. Some participants were working in sectors where frequent human-animal contact occurs, such as the animal production business (1.7%), wild animal trade (0.5%), slaughterhouses or abattoirs (0.5%), protected nature reserve rangers (0.4%) or in wildlife restaurants (0.3%). It was common for participants to have multiple part-time jobs as income sources (Table 1) Animal contact and exposure to bat Coronaviruses Serological testing of serum samples from 1,497 local residents revealed that 9 individuals (0.6%) in four study sites were positive for bat coronaviruses, indicating exposure at some point in their life to bat-borne SARSr-CoVs and HKU10-CoV or other coronaviruses that are phylogenetically closely related to these. All individuals who tested positive (male=6, female=3) were over 45 years old, and most (n=8) were making a living from crop production. None of those participants reported any symptoms in the 12 months preceding the interview. Due to the low rate of sero-positivity, we did not obtain robust results from the statistical comparisons of animal-contact behaviour by coronavirus outcome. Among the 1,585 participants who responded, 265 (17%) reported experiencing SARI (n = 73) and/or ILI (n = 227) symptoms in the last year. Some demographic variables were associated with self-reported SARI and/or ILI symptoms as either independent or interactive terms. For example, respondents aged 41 to 60 and residents of Yunnan province were less likely to report symptoms. Slaughtering poultry was positively associated with the outcome only in Guangxi residents, whereas the association was negative in Guangdong residents. Family income also showed interactions, with family income less than 10,000 RMB being positively associated with the outcome in respondents who raised poultry but negatively associated in respondents who cooked or handled poultry. Gender was not found to be salient in either direction. Attitudes towards zoonotic diseases emergence When asked about animals and disease transmission, more than half of the study participants believed that animals could spread disease and were worried about disease emergence from animals at wet markets. Of those worried about disease emergence, 46% purchased animals from wet markets in the past 12 months. Among all participants who purchased animals from wet markets in the past 12 months 32%), some  39% took protection measures or strategies such as washing hands, purchasing live animals less often 30%, or purchasing meat at supermarkets instead of live animal markets. Very few participants considered wearing a mask 1% or gloves  1%) while visiting the markets. Discussion Used was a novel human surveillance approach to integrate serological and behavioural data to characterize associations between human-animal contact and zoonotic disease spill over risk in Southern China. This study provides the first serological evidence of bat-borne SARSr-CoVs and HKU10-CoV transmission to people and highlights potential spill over pathways through animal contact. Given the high diversity and recombination rate of bat coronaviruses , and close relationship of SARSr-CoVs to SARS-CoV, it is possible that exposure to these coronaviruses may lead to disease emergence in human populations. Continuous surveillance of both human and bat populations, as well as further pathogenesis studies of these viruses, are important to determine the extent of the disease risk.Contact with animals was prevalent among the survey population. Raising poultry and having rodents/shrews in the house were the most common types of contact. It’s important to note that the questionnaire used broad classification of the type of animals for these exposures due to the presumed variability in respondent’s capacity to identify species or genera of wildlife. It is likely that the most significant exposure we identified (to carnivores) reflects animals as diverse as civets, porcupines, ferret badgers and taxas that respondents recognized as non-rodent and non-shrew. This study also assessed health risks from human interaction activities for each study participant in the survey based on their travel history and the health history of people who they lived with. The goal was to minimize the possibility that illness was caused by human-to-human transmission of pathogens causing ILI and/or SARI symptoms. researchers did not find evidence supporting a direct relationship between bat contact and bat coronavirus sero-positivity in the human population . However, there is frequent contact with domestic animals in these communities and it is known that other bat-borne viruses have been transmitted to humans via livestock (e.g. henipavirses and filoviruses). It is possible that these findings reflect other indirect exposures to bat CoVs, and future surveillance may benefit from including a wide range of livestock and peri-domestic animals in viral and serological studies to identify potential spill over pathways. While the majority of survey respondents believed that animals could spread disease and were worried about disease emergence from animals at wet markets, many did not take measures to protect themselves from exposure. Further work on what drives these local attitudes to risk may help in developing risk-mitigation behaviour change programs. A number of affordable and readily adaptable measures could be targeted to these at-risk populations, including the use of gloves and masks while killing or butchering animals, and handwashing. The low levels of sero-positivity found in the study could reflect a number of factors: the rarity of spill over and bat-to-human transmission, as has been reported for other virus-host systems the use of a snowball technique for sample selection that could have biased the population sampled the limited diversity of CoVs that this study tested for the possibility that these infections cause high mortality rates and therefore the number of survivors and number of seropositive people is low, although this seems unlikely because the mortality rate from SARS was >10% during an outbreak that included hospital exposure and therefore likely high infectious doses that antibodies to these viruses wane rapidly in humans. The latter hypothesis is supported by findings that antibodies to SARS decline rapidly (2–3 years) after illness. Expanding this approach to a larger population, using a longitudinal (repeated sampling) approach, and targeting people who are in the higher-risk categories identified here may provide a larger number of sero-positives and more critical information on the driving factors of viral spill over. However, despite the small sample sizes, this study suggests that there are a substantial number of people in rural Southern China who are exposed to bat-borne viruses, and that exposure likely occurs through the daily or normal practices of rural communities, rather than specific high-risk behaviours (e.g. wild animal hunting). Considering the proven potential of some SARSr-CoVs currently circulating in bats in southern China, to infect human cells, cause clinical signs in humanized mouse models, and lead to infections that cannot be treated with monoclonal therapies effective against SARS-CoV this represents a clear and present danger to our biosafety and public health. Further studies to determine the relationship between SARSr-CoV and HKU10-CoV exposure and illness in people may help elucidate this risk and provide critical mitigation strategies. What About the Bats? Bat populations in China appear to have decreased considerably in the last 30 years. China has a rich bat fauna, with 100 species described and taxonomic research on bats has increased in the last 2 decades. Four reasons may have been responsible: Extensive pesticide use has resulted in bioaccumulation in bats, reducing their survival Many old buildings were demolished during urbanization, reducing the availability of suitable roost sites People often include bats in their diet, and bats are served in restaurants. We make recommendations for improving bat conservation in China. Education programmes about bat conservation should be provided for adults and schoolchildren, and laws for protecting bats need to be enacted and enforced. The roosting sites of bats should be protected comprehensively, and pesticide use should be regulated Cave exploitation for tourism has changed the atmosphere and temperature in caves,disturbing bats directly The flow of visitors causes fluctuations in carbon dioxide content and temperature, and cave topography and dimensions affect the accumulation and diffusion of the gas, disturbing bats directly for example, the maximum CO2 content increased from 1,000 to 7,000 ppm in the chamber in Baiyun Cave, Hebei, after c. 3,000 people visited for 5 hours, and the temperature increased from 16.8 to 19.6. The effects of disturbance on bats and other cave fauna have seldom been studied in China. Lighting schemes have been installed for visitors without any consideration of the effects on bats and other cave animals, paths have been constructed, and gates at cave entrances for managing visitors are often unsuitable for flying bats to negotiate. The population of fruit bat Rousettus leschenaulti in Yiling Cave in Guangxi Province, for example, decreased from c. 5,000 to 2,000 after cave tourism was implemented in 1993. Yiling Cave in Guangxi Province Based on surveys of bats in China, combined with enquiries to local people, we estimate that the bat population may have decreased by 60% in the last 30 years. Bats provide important ecosystem services, pollinating plants, dispersing seeds and controlling pests. However many people in China regard bats as vermin because some species feed on economically important fruits, such as longan and litchi. Bats are also regarded as nefarious animals because they fly in the dark. Before the emergence of the SARS virus many restaurants in Guangzhou and other cities in south China offered bats, and live bats were also sold in markets. In some remote villages our surveys have repeatedly revealed that local people capture wild bats to eat, to meet their protein requirements. We have also found bamboo wattles, used to kill bats, in caves. There are additional factors causing decreases of bat populations in China. Many forests were destroyed during the Cultural Revolution (1966–1976) and vast steel-making and iron-smelting facilities were established, resulting in the loss of many roosting sites and foraging areas. Recently, many small paper mills have been built, resulting in the clear-cutting of forests and their replacement with the fast growing eucalypts that are preferred by the mills. We have found that many limestone hills excavated to make cement have lost their bat-roosting caves. No bat species are included in the lists of wildlife under special state protection (1989 Law of the People’s Republic of China on the Protection of Wildlife), and no nature reserves protect bat species or their roost sites. The 2019-nCoV outbreak is another reminder that people should limit the consumption of wild animals to prevent zoonotic infections. Before you go! Recommended:  Climate Change Causes Nature To Change: The World Affected Did you find this an interesting article or do you have a question or remark? Leave a comment below. We try to respond the same day. Like to write your own article about the change in wildlife? Click on  'Re g ister'  or push the button 'Write An Article' on the  'HomePage'
Coronavirus, COVID-19: From Pangolin, Snake Or Bat. Fact?
Coronavirus, COVID-19: From Pangolin, Snake Or Bat. Fact?
We Created The Coronavirus: A Milieu Flaw That Will Kill Us
You have probably read a great deal about the Corona virus outbreak thus far, whether this is of your own choosing or forced upon you by the mass media. At times, turning on the tv might feel as if you have tuned into one of those apocalypse movies that start with a man-created virus that sweeps the world in a deadly pandemic.   The Corona Virus Spreading Like Wildfire Warning: Disturbing Photo's & Video! Thousands of people have been confirmed infected with the potentially lethal disease originating from Wuhan, China. A few hundreds have died thus far. It is not just the medical world that is frantically trying to find ways of reigning in the outbreak, other industries are equally affected - from the hit that China’s famed industry is taking to airlines ceasing their China operations and politics’ attempts to ban anything and anyone coming from the affected region. The one industry that is thriving is that for face masks, which are now sported by those who still dare to walk on the streets of ground-zero city Wuhan. Although its protective effect has not been proven thus far, people are eager to find a way of averting this imminent doom. The disease that once started as a relatively innocent bug floating around at a live animal market, is now starting to gain traction and spreading fast and furiously.   Man Made Diseases: Corona Virus Explained While the name might put you in a sunny mood, thinking of warm beaches and refreshing lemon-infused beer, nothing would have been further from the minds of the group of Chinese scientists who isolated, identified and named the virus. Their general consensus is that the disease jumped from animal to man at the end of last year; with bats being the main suspect for having transferred it - possibly through other animals - to us. Recommended:  Coronavirus, Flu And Climate Change: Is There A Connection? And while some may claim that this virus is just a stroke of bad luck, the reality is that we are the ones who started it. We are responsible for each and every person that dies at the hands of this horrible disease. No, we did not singlehandedly inject a supervirus into the blood flow of unsuspecting fellow human beings - that I give you. But we did create the circumstances that have allowed all of the current heartbreak to occur. Destroying Habitats For Animals And Their Diseases This includes the fact that we are overcrowding our planet, that is seemingly bursting at its seams. Never before have there been so many of us, a growth that is expected to continue exponentially. This means that we are constantly trying to find more places to live and more food to put in our mouths. All 7.6 billion of us are trying to find our place in this world, and if this means that we have to take it away from precious rainforests, savannahs and wetlands, then so be it. {youtube}                                                    This may explain the spread of China's new virus We are using up the earth’s scarce resources and polluting her to a point where she will no longer be able to rebound on her own accord. At the same time, we are moving into the habitat of animals, who will find themselves forced to relocate to lands that they definitely not suited for. The distance between animal and human has decreased, making it much easier for diseases to jump from animal to human. Recommended:  Climate Change Africa, Pakistan: Locust Destroy All Crops Add to this that we are eager for food, and it is not hard to see why this forced relocation of animals will lead to an increase in animal trade as well. Viruses that were previously only hosted by animals are now uprooted in a similar fashion. They also need a different ecosystem, and unfortunately, we make some pretty good hosts. Live Animals Markets At The Root The number of diseases that have evolved in such a fashion are numerous. SARS, MERS, Ebola, West Nile, bird flu, H.I.V. - all examples of how we are getting too close to animals. It does not help that live animal markets are still largely unregulated in large parts of Asia and Africa, meaning that a wide variety of wild animals can be traded easily and freely.   These omnivorous markets are as fascinating to the Western eye as they are dangerous. Animals that are not normally confronted with humans - or each other - are packed together tightly in a loud and largely unhygienic setting. Ground zero for dangerous disease mutations if you ever saw one. Granted, China has now forbidden such markets, although many fear this is merely a temporary measure in response to the Corona virus. Bio Industry To Blame Equally Westerners typically look down upon the live animal trading practices that are commonplace to our eastern neighbours. Unfortunately they are far from saints either. In Europe and North America, the bio industry is thriving - with farms looking more and more like factories instead of traditional animal husbandry operations. In these livestock factories, animals are equally packed, allowing for an easy spread of diseases.   The BSE-disease did not originate from some exotic animal, it was our own, trustworthy cow that caused all of the distress. Affected animals are quick to infect one another and, if in close proximity to other animals or humans, create some hybrid virus that could prove to be lethal. The widespread use of antibiotics in the sector is only adding to this problem, creating super strong and hyper resistant strains that are hard, if not impossible, to treat. So, time to ‘fess up. We did create the Corona virus. Through our lacklustre attitude towards animals and animal trade. Through our insatiable urge to expand, and thus reduce treasured ecosystems. Through our profit-oriented way of living. And yes, it is much harder to cure the virus than it seemingly was to create it. This juxtaposition should in and of itself provide sufficient food for thought for those who still refuse to face the truth. Before you go! Recommended:  Coronavirus Symptoms Clarified: Males 50+ Are Most At Risk Did you find this an interesting article or do you have a question or remark? Leave a comment below. We try to respond the same day. Like to write your own article about the Coronavirus, the environment and/or wet markets? Click on  'Re g ister'  or push the button 'Write An Article' on the  'HomePage'
You have probably read a great deal about the Corona virus outbreak thus far, whether this is of your own choosing or forced upon you by the mass media. At times, turning on the tv might feel as if you have tuned into one of those apocalypse movies that start with a man-created virus that sweeps the world in a deadly pandemic.   The Corona Virus Spreading Like Wildfire Warning: Disturbing Photo's & Video! Thousands of people have been confirmed infected with the potentially lethal disease originating from Wuhan, China. A few hundreds have died thus far. It is not just the medical world that is frantically trying to find ways of reigning in the outbreak, other industries are equally affected - from the hit that China’s famed industry is taking to airlines ceasing their China operations and politics’ attempts to ban anything and anyone coming from the affected region. The one industry that is thriving is that for face masks, which are now sported by those who still dare to walk on the streets of ground-zero city Wuhan. Although its protective effect has not been proven thus far, people are eager to find a way of averting this imminent doom. The disease that once started as a relatively innocent bug floating around at a live animal market, is now starting to gain traction and spreading fast and furiously.   Man Made Diseases: Corona Virus Explained While the name might put you in a sunny mood, thinking of warm beaches and refreshing lemon-infused beer, nothing would have been further from the minds of the group of Chinese scientists who isolated, identified and named the virus. Their general consensus is that the disease jumped from animal to man at the end of last year; with bats being the main suspect for having transferred it - possibly through other animals - to us. Recommended:  Coronavirus, Flu And Climate Change: Is There A Connection? And while some may claim that this virus is just a stroke of bad luck, the reality is that we are the ones who started it. We are responsible for each and every person that dies at the hands of this horrible disease. No, we did not singlehandedly inject a supervirus into the blood flow of unsuspecting fellow human beings - that I give you. But we did create the circumstances that have allowed all of the current heartbreak to occur. Destroying Habitats For Animals And Their Diseases This includes the fact that we are overcrowding our planet, that is seemingly bursting at its seams. Never before have there been so many of us, a growth that is expected to continue exponentially. This means that we are constantly trying to find more places to live and more food to put in our mouths. All 7.6 billion of us are trying to find our place in this world, and if this means that we have to take it away from precious rainforests, savannahs and wetlands, then so be it. {youtube}                                                    This may explain the spread of China's new virus We are using up the earth’s scarce resources and polluting her to a point where she will no longer be able to rebound on her own accord. At the same time, we are moving into the habitat of animals, who will find themselves forced to relocate to lands that they definitely not suited for. The distance between animal and human has decreased, making it much easier for diseases to jump from animal to human. Recommended:  Climate Change Africa, Pakistan: Locust Destroy All Crops Add to this that we are eager for food, and it is not hard to see why this forced relocation of animals will lead to an increase in animal trade as well. Viruses that were previously only hosted by animals are now uprooted in a similar fashion. They also need a different ecosystem, and unfortunately, we make some pretty good hosts. Live Animals Markets At The Root The number of diseases that have evolved in such a fashion are numerous. SARS, MERS, Ebola, West Nile, bird flu, H.I.V. - all examples of how we are getting too close to animals. It does not help that live animal markets are still largely unregulated in large parts of Asia and Africa, meaning that a wide variety of wild animals can be traded easily and freely.   These omnivorous markets are as fascinating to the Western eye as they are dangerous. Animals that are not normally confronted with humans - or each other - are packed together tightly in a loud and largely unhygienic setting. Ground zero for dangerous disease mutations if you ever saw one. Granted, China has now forbidden such markets, although many fear this is merely a temporary measure in response to the Corona virus. Bio Industry To Blame Equally Westerners typically look down upon the live animal trading practices that are commonplace to our eastern neighbours. Unfortunately they are far from saints either. In Europe and North America, the bio industry is thriving - with farms looking more and more like factories instead of traditional animal husbandry operations. In these livestock factories, animals are equally packed, allowing for an easy spread of diseases.   The BSE-disease did not originate from some exotic animal, it was our own, trustworthy cow that caused all of the distress. Affected animals are quick to infect one another and, if in close proximity to other animals or humans, create some hybrid virus that could prove to be lethal. The widespread use of antibiotics in the sector is only adding to this problem, creating super strong and hyper resistant strains that are hard, if not impossible, to treat. So, time to ‘fess up. We did create the Corona virus. Through our lacklustre attitude towards animals and animal trade. Through our insatiable urge to expand, and thus reduce treasured ecosystems. Through our profit-oriented way of living. And yes, it is much harder to cure the virus than it seemingly was to create it. This juxtaposition should in and of itself provide sufficient food for thought for those who still refuse to face the truth. Before you go! Recommended:  Coronavirus Symptoms Clarified: Males 50+ Are Most At Risk Did you find this an interesting article or do you have a question or remark? Leave a comment below. We try to respond the same day. Like to write your own article about the Coronavirus, the environment and/or wet markets? Click on  'Re g ister'  or push the button 'Write An Article' on the  'HomePage'
We Created The Coronavirus: A Milieu Flaw That Will Kill Us
We Created The Coronavirus: A Milieu Flaw That Will Kill Us
Bushfires Australia Generate Their Own Weather
The bushfires in Australia are now so big that they are generating their own weather, in the form of giant thunderstorms that start more fires, according to the Bureau of Meteorology in Victoria. Bushfires Generate Their Own Weather Breaking News...Recommended:   Taal Volcano: Hazardous Eruption Feared. What Is The Future? Pyro-cumulonimbus clouds have developed to altitudes over 16km in East Gippsland this afternoon. These fire-induced storms can spread fires through lightning, lofting of embers and generation of severe wind outflows. Intense fires generate smoke, obviously. But their heat can also create a localised updraft powerful enough to create its own changes in the atmosphere above. Recommended:  Wildfires Globally: Australia, America, Africa, The Arctic, Siberia As the heat and smoke rise, the cloud plume can cool off, generating a large, puffy cloud full of potential rain. The plume can also scatter embers and hot ash over a wider area. Eventually, water droplets in the cloud condense, generating a downburst of rain – maybe. But the ‘front’ between the calm air outside the fire zone and a pyro cumulonimbus storm cloud is so sharp that it also generates lightning and that can start new fires. If powerful enough, a pyro cumulonimbus storm can generate a fire tornado, which happened during the Canberra bushfires in 2003. Why do Pyrocumulus clouds rise above the smoke? This moisture then accumulates on smoke particles and rapidly condenses as it rises. Pyrocumulus clouds are more commonly seen above volcanic eruptions, which produce lots of steam. If you've ever seen an evil-looking cloud creating dry lightning above a volcano, that's a pyrocumulus cloud. Scientists worry that ‘pyroCbs’ are on the rise around the world, driven by warmer temperatures and more intense fires. Their plumes are so strong that they can even shoot smoke into the stratosphere, 6 to 30 miles (10 to 50 kilometres) above the Earth's surface. Bushfires Australia Generate Their Own Weather. Time lapse of a pyro cumulonimbus storm in action What types of clouds are associated with wildfires? Simply put, it is a cumulus cloud that is formed by hot air and smoke being released into the sky, usually during volcanic eruptions, or in Australia’s case, by wildfires. The clouds are usually gray, black or brown Smoke From Bushfires In Australia Has Spread To South America Smoke particles from bushfires in Australia have reached South America, in a striking illustration of the intensity of the unprecedented blazes. Satellites show atmospheric pollution created by the fires across New South Wales and Queensland has travelled more than 10,000 kilometres to Chile and Argentina. Researchers at the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) in Reading, UK, found a plume of carbon monoxide and aerosols trailing across the Pacific Ocean to South America. Recommended:  Brazil Is Burning For Your Beef: Amazon’s Nature, Our Luxury More pollution will follow, judging from the situation in Australia. From satellite imagery there’s thick smoke coming out of New South Wales, so more will be being pumped out, meaning a train of pollution going across the south Pacific, will follow the jet stream. What is jet stream in geography? A jet stream is defined as a current of rapidly moving air that is usually several thousand miles long and wide but is relatively thin. They are found in the upper levels of Earth's atmosphere at the tropopause - the boundary between the troposphere and stratosphere (see atmospheric layers). While it is relatively unusual for pollution to travel so far, studies have shown Australia’s deadly 2009 “Black Saturday” fires released materials that travelled a similar distance. Only trace amounts of Australian pollution hitting South America have been recorded today by satellites, with carbon monoxide levels of 80 to 100 parts per billion. Anything above 110ppb is considered polluted air. Australia’s deadly 2009 'Black Saturday' fires However, it is unlikely the pollution will affect local air quality in South America  which has experienced its own serious forest fires this year since the material is around 5 kilometres up in the atmosphere and likely to stay there. If the air comes down and reaches the surface it could add an extra bit on top of local air quality issues. Recommended:  Amazon’s Fires, Madonna And DiCaprio: Questions & Answers Instead, the significance of the pollution reaching so far is what it tells us about the power of the fires in Australia. It’s reflecting the sheer intensity of the fires, particularly in New South Wales. Smoke From Bushfires In Australia Reach New Zealand Across the Tasman Sea, smoke from the wildfires are posing a new threat to New Zealand’s white glaciers, turning them black and staining snow brown. Social media posts from tourists and helicopter services from the Franz Josef and Tasman glaciers show 'caramelised' snow and smoke-shrouded views. A climber who posted a video from the top of the Tasman glacier added: “We can actually smell the burning here in Christchurch.” Ash from the smoke could accelerate melting snow on the glaciers, which already face a climate disaster of their own. The whiteness of snow and ice reflects the sun’s heat and slows melting, but as ash and dust settle on the snow, it absorbs more heat and melts at a faster rate. How does the albedo effect work? The albedo effect. Light surfaces reflect more heat than dark surfaces. This is called the albedo effect. When the Earth's temperature dropped because of its position in orbit around the Sun, and the tilt of the axis, the ice sheets grew. Over 3,000 glaciers in New Zealand are quickly disappearing due to global warming and many could completely melt away by the end of the century. If the ash stays on the surface then it will certainly enhance melt. If fire frequency, ash and dust transport increase, there is a chance that this will hasten the demise of New Zealand’s glaciers. Recommended:  Climate Change And Its Effects Like Droughts: The Heat Is On Did you find this an interesting article or do you have a question or remark? Leave a comment below. We try to respond the same day. Like to write your own article about bush fires or climate change? Click on  'Register'  or push the button 'Write An Article' on the  'HomePage'
The bushfires in Australia are now so big that they are generating their own weather, in the form of giant thunderstorms that start more fires, according to the Bureau of Meteorology in Victoria. Bushfires Generate Their Own Weather Breaking News...Recommended:   Taal Volcano: Hazardous Eruption Feared. What Is The Future? Pyro-cumulonimbus clouds have developed to altitudes over 16km in East Gippsland this afternoon. These fire-induced storms can spread fires through lightning, lofting of embers and generation of severe wind outflows. Intense fires generate smoke, obviously. But their heat can also create a localised updraft powerful enough to create its own changes in the atmosphere above. Recommended:  Wildfires Globally: Australia, America, Africa, The Arctic, Siberia As the heat and smoke rise, the cloud plume can cool off, generating a large, puffy cloud full of potential rain. The plume can also scatter embers and hot ash over a wider area. Eventually, water droplets in the cloud condense, generating a downburst of rain – maybe. But the ‘front’ between the calm air outside the fire zone and a pyro cumulonimbus storm cloud is so sharp that it also generates lightning and that can start new fires. If powerful enough, a pyro cumulonimbus storm can generate a fire tornado, which happened during the Canberra bushfires in 2003. Why do Pyrocumulus clouds rise above the smoke? This moisture then accumulates on smoke particles and rapidly condenses as it rises. Pyrocumulus clouds are more commonly seen above volcanic eruptions, which produce lots of steam. If you've ever seen an evil-looking cloud creating dry lightning above a volcano, that's a pyrocumulus cloud. Scientists worry that ‘pyroCbs’ are on the rise around the world, driven by warmer temperatures and more intense fires. Their plumes are so strong that they can even shoot smoke into the stratosphere, 6 to 30 miles (10 to 50 kilometres) above the Earth's surface. Bushfires Australia Generate Their Own Weather. Time lapse of a pyro cumulonimbus storm in action What types of clouds are associated with wildfires? Simply put, it is a cumulus cloud that is formed by hot air and smoke being released into the sky, usually during volcanic eruptions, or in Australia’s case, by wildfires. The clouds are usually gray, black or brown Smoke From Bushfires In Australia Has Spread To South America Smoke particles from bushfires in Australia have reached South America, in a striking illustration of the intensity of the unprecedented blazes. Satellites show atmospheric pollution created by the fires across New South Wales and Queensland has travelled more than 10,000 kilometres to Chile and Argentina. Researchers at the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) in Reading, UK, found a plume of carbon monoxide and aerosols trailing across the Pacific Ocean to South America. Recommended:  Brazil Is Burning For Your Beef: Amazon’s Nature, Our Luxury More pollution will follow, judging from the situation in Australia. From satellite imagery there’s thick smoke coming out of New South Wales, so more will be being pumped out, meaning a train of pollution going across the south Pacific, will follow the jet stream. What is jet stream in geography? A jet stream is defined as a current of rapidly moving air that is usually several thousand miles long and wide but is relatively thin. They are found in the upper levels of Earth's atmosphere at the tropopause - the boundary between the troposphere and stratosphere (see atmospheric layers). While it is relatively unusual for pollution to travel so far, studies have shown Australia’s deadly 2009 “Black Saturday” fires released materials that travelled a similar distance. Only trace amounts of Australian pollution hitting South America have been recorded today by satellites, with carbon monoxide levels of 80 to 100 parts per billion. Anything above 110ppb is considered polluted air. Australia’s deadly 2009 'Black Saturday' fires However, it is unlikely the pollution will affect local air quality in South America  which has experienced its own serious forest fires this year since the material is around 5 kilometres up in the atmosphere and likely to stay there. If the air comes down and reaches the surface it could add an extra bit on top of local air quality issues. Recommended:  Amazon’s Fires, Madonna And DiCaprio: Questions & Answers Instead, the significance of the pollution reaching so far is what it tells us about the power of the fires in Australia. It’s reflecting the sheer intensity of the fires, particularly in New South Wales. Smoke From Bushfires In Australia Reach New Zealand Across the Tasman Sea, smoke from the wildfires are posing a new threat to New Zealand’s white glaciers, turning them black and staining snow brown. Social media posts from tourists and helicopter services from the Franz Josef and Tasman glaciers show 'caramelised' snow and smoke-shrouded views. A climber who posted a video from the top of the Tasman glacier added: “We can actually smell the burning here in Christchurch.” Ash from the smoke could accelerate melting snow on the glaciers, which already face a climate disaster of their own. The whiteness of snow and ice reflects the sun’s heat and slows melting, but as ash and dust settle on the snow, it absorbs more heat and melts at a faster rate. How does the albedo effect work? The albedo effect. Light surfaces reflect more heat than dark surfaces. This is called the albedo effect. When the Earth's temperature dropped because of its position in orbit around the Sun, and the tilt of the axis, the ice sheets grew. Over 3,000 glaciers in New Zealand are quickly disappearing due to global warming and many could completely melt away by the end of the century. If the ash stays on the surface then it will certainly enhance melt. If fire frequency, ash and dust transport increase, there is a chance that this will hasten the demise of New Zealand’s glaciers. Recommended:  Climate Change And Its Effects Like Droughts: The Heat Is On Did you find this an interesting article or do you have a question or remark? Leave a comment below. We try to respond the same day. Like to write your own article about bush fires or climate change? Click on  'Register'  or push the button 'Write An Article' on the  'HomePage'
Bushfires Australia Generate Their Own Weather
Bushfires Australia Generate Their Own Weather
Coronavirus, COVID-19 Symptoms: Males 50+ Are At Risk
A new study analyzed 99 of the earliest patients to be infected with the novel coronavirus. Read the outcome below! This new coronavirus clinical study was published in The Lancet. COVID-19 The Coronavirus Symptoms: Insights  A newly published article in the prestigious journal The Lancet is offering the most thorough insights to date into the clinical characteristics of the rapidly spreading novel coronavirus. The study examined 99 of the earliest cases detected, describing the most common symptoms and the types of patients most likely to contract the virus. Following a wave of unexplained cases of viral pneumonia in the Chinese city of Wuhan across December 2019, a novel coronavirus was detected. Labeled 2019-nCoV, the spread of the virus has been swift.  Recommended:  Coronavirus Worldwide Breaking News Updates Recommended: Coronavirus, Flu And Climate Change: Is There A Connection? COVID-19, The Coronavirus Symptoms: The Characteristics Scientists have been working hard to understand the characteristics of this new virus. While it belongs to the same general family of viruses responsible for the SARS and MERS outbreaks, its unique properties are still unclear. A new Lancet study is presenting the most comprehensive clinical description of the virus published so far, encompassing 99 patients admitted with the virus to a local Wuhan hospital. The study revealed the average age of infected patients was 55, and the majority (68 percent) were male. Half of the patients studied were suffering from a pre-existing chronic disease and 49 percent had a direct connection to the food market suspected to be the origin of the virus. Symptomatically, most patients displayed fever and/or cough on admission to hospital. These are the two most prominent and consistent symptoms seen in the virus. Other symptoms seen in some patients included shortness of breath, muscle aches and headaches. {youtube}                                   Expert: We don't know yet if Wuhan coronavirus outbreak is controllable Commenting on an earlier investigation into the clinical characteristics of this new virus, Paul Hunter from the University of East Anglia noted there are key symptomatic differences between this coronavirus and its notorious counterpart, SARS. “What comes through strongly is that the clinical features and epidemiology of the recent outbreak is very similar to SARS with one big difference – the relative lack of upper respiratory tract symptoms such as runny nose, sore throat and sneezing compared to what was seen in SARS,” says Hunter. “This is very important as sneezes and runny noses are a prime way for people to spread infection.” By the endpoint of the study, January 25, only 11 patients had died from the virus, while 31 had recovered and been discharged. The scientists behind this new analysis suggest most of the deceased patients were older than 60 years with pre-existing medical conditions. Those patients with the virus that did die primarily did so from acute respiratory distress syndrome, or ARDS, a critical form of respiratory failure. Recommended:  Coronavirus From Bat To Snake To Humans: Fact Or Hypothesis While the mortality rate in this studied cohort is around 11 percent, the scientists say some patients currently hospitalized may still succumb to the virus. However, it is also noted that this high mortality rate only accounts for acute hospitalized cases and is not indicative of the virus’s general virulence in the real world. COVID-19, The Coronavirus: Higher Infection Risk For Men One of the more compelling data points raised in the study is the virus’s tendency to be of a higher infection risk to men rather than women. This resembles one of the stranger traits seen in the earlier SARS and MERS outbreaks. “The reduced susceptibility of females to viral infections could be attributed to the protection from X chromosome and sex hormones, which play an important role in innate and adaptive immunity,” the scientists hypothesize in the new study. The ultimate takeaway from this analysis, the scientists claim, is that older males with pre-existing chronic diseases are most at risk from the novel coronavirus. The outbreak is, of course, still a dynamic and fast-moving global emergency with a variety of questions still unanswered. Particularly unclear is exactly how contagious the virus may be, and whether it is transmissible when a carrier is still asymptomatic. An infographic depicting the stages of viral infection in a single studied family Recommended:  Coronavirus Worldwide Breaking News Updates Another recently published case study in The Lancet describes how the virus infected a whole family in early January. As well as verifying person-to-person transmission, the case study suggests asymptomatic transmission of the virus is possible. One 10-year-old child in the family was diagnosed with the virus while curiously remaining completely without symptoms. While asymptomatic cases of SARS were detected in the past, they were very rare. “Because asymptomatic infection appears possible, controlling the epidemic will also rely on isolating patients, tracing and quarantining contacts as early as possible, educating the public on both food and personal hygiene, and ensuring health care workers comply with infection control,” said Kwok-Yung Yuen, lead researcher on the family case study. Before you go! Recommended:  Smart Sustainable Lifestyle Changing Tips & Tricks For 2019 Did you find this an interesting article or do you have a question or remark? Leave a comment below. We try to respond the same day. Like to write your own article about the COVID-19 Or Coronavirus? Click on  'Re g ister'  or push the button 'Write An Article' on the  'HomePage'
A new study analyzed 99 of the earliest patients to be infected with the novel coronavirus. Read the outcome below! This new coronavirus clinical study was published in The Lancet. COVID-19 The Coronavirus Symptoms: Insights  A newly published article in the prestigious journal The Lancet is offering the most thorough insights to date into the clinical characteristics of the rapidly spreading novel coronavirus. The study examined 99 of the earliest cases detected, describing the most common symptoms and the types of patients most likely to contract the virus. Following a wave of unexplained cases of viral pneumonia in the Chinese city of Wuhan across December 2019, a novel coronavirus was detected. Labeled 2019-nCoV, the spread of the virus has been swift.  Recommended:  Coronavirus Worldwide Breaking News Updates Recommended: Coronavirus, Flu And Climate Change: Is There A Connection? COVID-19, The Coronavirus Symptoms: The Characteristics Scientists have been working hard to understand the characteristics of this new virus. While it belongs to the same general family of viruses responsible for the SARS and MERS outbreaks, its unique properties are still unclear. A new Lancet study is presenting the most comprehensive clinical description of the virus published so far, encompassing 99 patients admitted with the virus to a local Wuhan hospital. The study revealed the average age of infected patients was 55, and the majority (68 percent) were male. Half of the patients studied were suffering from a pre-existing chronic disease and 49 percent had a direct connection to the food market suspected to be the origin of the virus. Symptomatically, most patients displayed fever and/or cough on admission to hospital. These are the two most prominent and consistent symptoms seen in the virus. Other symptoms seen in some patients included shortness of breath, muscle aches and headaches. {youtube}                                   Expert: We don't know yet if Wuhan coronavirus outbreak is controllable Commenting on an earlier investigation into the clinical characteristics of this new virus, Paul Hunter from the University of East Anglia noted there are key symptomatic differences between this coronavirus and its notorious counterpart, SARS. “What comes through strongly is that the clinical features and epidemiology of the recent outbreak is very similar to SARS with one big difference – the relative lack of upper respiratory tract symptoms such as runny nose, sore throat and sneezing compared to what was seen in SARS,” says Hunter. “This is very important as sneezes and runny noses are a prime way for people to spread infection.” By the endpoint of the study, January 25, only 11 patients had died from the virus, while 31 had recovered and been discharged. The scientists behind this new analysis suggest most of the deceased patients were older than 60 years with pre-existing medical conditions. Those patients with the virus that did die primarily did so from acute respiratory distress syndrome, or ARDS, a critical form of respiratory failure. Recommended:  Coronavirus From Bat To Snake To Humans: Fact Or Hypothesis While the mortality rate in this studied cohort is around 11 percent, the scientists say some patients currently hospitalized may still succumb to the virus. However, it is also noted that this high mortality rate only accounts for acute hospitalized cases and is not indicative of the virus’s general virulence in the real world. COVID-19, The Coronavirus: Higher Infection Risk For Men One of the more compelling data points raised in the study is the virus’s tendency to be of a higher infection risk to men rather than women. This resembles one of the stranger traits seen in the earlier SARS and MERS outbreaks. “The reduced susceptibility of females to viral infections could be attributed to the protection from X chromosome and sex hormones, which play an important role in innate and adaptive immunity,” the scientists hypothesize in the new study. The ultimate takeaway from this analysis, the scientists claim, is that older males with pre-existing chronic diseases are most at risk from the novel coronavirus. The outbreak is, of course, still a dynamic and fast-moving global emergency with a variety of questions still unanswered. Particularly unclear is exactly how contagious the virus may be, and whether it is transmissible when a carrier is still asymptomatic. An infographic depicting the stages of viral infection in a single studied family Recommended:  Coronavirus Worldwide Breaking News Updates Another recently published case study in The Lancet describes how the virus infected a whole family in early January. As well as verifying person-to-person transmission, the case study suggests asymptomatic transmission of the virus is possible. One 10-year-old child in the family was diagnosed with the virus while curiously remaining completely without symptoms. While asymptomatic cases of SARS were detected in the past, they were very rare. “Because asymptomatic infection appears possible, controlling the epidemic will also rely on isolating patients, tracing and quarantining contacts as early as possible, educating the public on both food and personal hygiene, and ensuring health care workers comply with infection control,” said Kwok-Yung Yuen, lead researcher on the family case study. Before you go! Recommended:  Smart Sustainable Lifestyle Changing Tips & Tricks For 2019 Did you find this an interesting article or do you have a question or remark? Leave a comment below. We try to respond the same day. Like to write your own article about the COVID-19 Or Coronavirus? Click on  'Re g ister'  or push the button 'Write An Article' on the  'HomePage'
Coronavirus, COVID-19 Symptoms: Males 50+ Are At Risk
Coronavirus, COVID-19 Symptoms: Males 50+ Are At Risk
Amazon Water War: Fires, Hydro Dams, Climate Change S.O.S.
The Amazon has long served as one of the world’s final frontiers. It covers well over 7 million square meters, largely comprised of rainforest. The vast size and the unfriendly terrain have led to portions of it still being uncharted, with entire indigenous tribes having only recently been discovered. This has led to an air of mysticism surrounding the region, serving as an active magnet in attracting adventure seekers from all around the world. Amazon Water War All the more reason why it is such a shame that this precious land is disappearing as we speak. Thousands and thousands are suffering directly from the development projects currently being executed in the Amazon. And in a few years, all of us around the world will be suffering from the loss as well.   Why, you ask? There are some key developments that have put the future of the world’s largest rainforest at stake, along with the people, animals and plants that live in it. Some of these developments are initiated by Brazil, the country with the largest share of Amazon land, while others are indeed a truly global effort. Eventually, companies from all over the world will have a hand in the destruction of this glorious piece of nature’s glory. Brazil Belo Monte Dam. Flooding Of Altamira Town And Displacement (2015) Altamira on the Xingu River, a staging area for the controversial Belo Monte hydroelectric project now nearing completion. Long time residents lament the loss of the forests and grittiness of the town. One person who has made it their personal mission to stop this from happening, is Antonia Melo. This impressive lady was born in 1949 and has spent a considerable amount of her life in the Xingu Alive Forever Movement, a coalition of organisations and social movements that are fighting the construction of the Belo Monte dam. Her movement has rallied churches, schools, communities and NGOs in an effort to stop the Belo Monte from being built. This construction project will have far-reaching consequences for the town of Altamira, which will be flooded if the dam is finished. It is not surprising that the locals are speaking out against their forced displacement. Projects like the Belo Monte are at the heart of the issue, showing everything that is wrong with the governmental treatment of the Amazon. Indigenous and non-indigenous communities alike will feel the consequences of this profit-driven decision. The Belo Monte project has been flawed with illegality and prosperous mismanagement, from the unlawful blocking of the river up to the failure to implement health services and the forgoing of demarcation of indigenous lands.   Dismolishing, flooding of Altamira Town and displacement Ultimately, nature and local communities will be hit the hardest by this blatant display of governmental greed. The indigenous people will lose their access to clean drinking water and fishing waters, while the 400+ islands lost represent a disastrous loss of ecosystems, not to mention a drastic hit to the local economy. Recommended:  Asia’s Water War: China, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam Brazils Amazon Dams Risk Destroying Heart Of The Amazon (2016) The Belo Monte dam is not an isolated case. Across the Amazon, there are dozens of major dam projects underway that will irrevocably and irreparably harm its natural glory. Anyone arguing that the economic benefits to this are worth the loss of land and the negative impact that it will have on indigenous people will be hard pressed to find arguments to back up this claim. Just look at the multitude of dams occupying the Tapajós river, which have been hailed by the Brazilian government as the solution to the country’s pressing electricity shortages. They go a long way in fulfilling the country’s ambition to increase their hydropower capacity by 25 gigawatt, while simultaneously leading to the construction of a major waterway that will serve as the highway for the country’s export of soy and crops to Europe. While this sounds like a great plan, the downside is considerable. There is much debate regarding the amount of energy that these dams will actually generate, while the ecological effects are significant. It will flood acres and acres of valuable forest lands, destroying millions of trees and opening the way for major exploitation projects.   Similarly, a project setting out to build the sixth largest hydroelectric dam in the world - the 8,000 megawatt São Luiz do Tapajós dam - will completely obliterate the land of the Munduruku people, once again flooding a considerable amount of the rainforest. Not just dangerous for the Munduruku people, but also for the rest of us, all around the world. Without wanting to sound obnoxious: these rainforests truly are the lungs of the world. A member of the Munduruku indigenous group. The Munduruku people, with a population of 12,000, have lived in the region for centuries. They have been resisting hydropower developments on tributaries of the Tapajós for decades The Munduruku and other people impacted by the construction of dams in the Tapajós river have called out the authorities for their blatant disrespect for nature. Unfortunately it looks as if they are not to be swayed, now that various international companies and banks have expressed their interest in projects like the São Luiz do Tapajós dam. {youtube}                                                           Stand for the Amazon - Keep Tapajós Alive                                            Amazon Water War: Fires, Hydro Dams, Climate Change S.O.S. Recommended:  Water War Between India, Pakistan: Kashmir and Jammu Not a Single Drop More of Indigenous Blood (October, November 2019) As we speak, a group of Brazilian indigenous leaders is taking matters in their own hands. They will attempt to defend the rights of their people and territory by visiting a dozen European countries, starting in Italy and ending in Spain, via Germany, Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, France, Portugal and the United Kingdom. Here, they will shed light on the violations and crimes committed by the Brazilian government, and most notably its highly controversial president Jair Bolsonaro.   Recommended: Indigenous Blood: Not a Single Drop More These leaders include Sonia Guajajara, Nara Baré, Alberto Terena, Angela Kaxuyana, Celia   Xakriabá, Dinamam Tuxá, Elizeu Guarani Kaiowá, and Kretã Kaingang. Every single one of them impressive human beings, who want to establish a dialogue and gain the support of European citizens. Eventually, they hope to kickstart real political action, and highlight the violations of human rights in the region.   Sonia Guajajara By making people, companies and governments aware of the actual circumstances under which goods are produced, they are hoping to call a halt to the growing investments in the region. This is a very important issue, as data from an APIB report published back in April shows that companies from the United States and Europe are most definitely complicit in the destruction of the Amazon. Under the stress of increasing competition, rising demand and falling prices, we are looking at the ugly face of global trade rearing its head. This has now led to blatant ignorance and borderline criminal activities taking place in one of the world’s most sacred places. In the past, it has even led to the armed invasion of indigenous lands in order to exploit their natural riches. Alberto Terena Even criminal organisations and networks are playing a part in the deforestation and wildfires in the Amazon. With the impactful changes in policy made by president Bolsonaro, which have mainly served to loosen environmental regulations, illegal logging and other forms of exploitation of the land have taken flight. Once again, those living in the forest are suffering most from those often violent attacks on their land. The word ‘genocide’ has even been coined to describe this effect. Angela Kaxuyana in the middle A shame, knowing that those indigenous people might play an important role in combatting global climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has actually credited those communities as being the ‘guardians of the forest’, with their sustainable practices and extensive knowledge of the land serving as the guiding principle for meaningful climate change action. Recommended:  Climate Change: Water Scarcity, Hunger, Agriculture And Food Brazil’s Belo Monte Dam In The Amazon Poorly Planned (Nov 2019) Coming back to the controversial Belo Monte dam example mentioned at the beginning of this article, the one that Antonia Melo and her people are fighting hard to prevent. It is not just the matter of preventing the flooding of Altamira town that should bother you. There is a critical flaw in the design of this massive hydroelectric project, one that could potentially threaten human life and global ecosystems in one go. Insider documents and expert testimonies have indicated that the dam’s engineers may have underestimated the undeniable impact that water shortages will have on the Pimental dam, that is currently serving as a downstream barrier. Now, a choice will have to be made between a structural weakening of the dam or the reallocation of water in the reservoir or on the Xingu river. The latter solution will have a major impact on the indigenous communities who live here and rely on the water for their livelihood.   There is a significant risk of the dam rupturing, something so alarming that it has led to federal prosecutors calling for a suspension of the project and emergency aid for those living in the fishing villages that are now faced with a major decline in fish, their main source of food and income. Despite all of this, the dam is still scheduled to open this month, having cost a measly €9.3 billion thus far. While the last of its 18 turbines is being installed, the low water levels in the reservoirs have highlighted those structural problems. A section of the Pimental dam downstream has been exposed, unveiling its incapacity of dealing with major waves that might occur now that the Belo Monte dam is completed. Deforestation at Belo Monte Those living downstream of the dam are rightfully worried, with recent dam disasters in Brumadinho and Mariana still fresh in the collective memory. As of yet, the Brazilian government has not committed to any remedial action or acknowledgement of the risk to the public.   Recommended:  Water War Brewing Over New River Nile Dam: Egypt, Ethiopia Save The Amazon, Save The World It is once again testament to the unwillingness of Brazilian leaders and, indeed, world leaders to take action to save the Amazon. Paradoxically, the Amazon might just be what saves us, provided that it is well taken care of. Now that this appears to be unlikely, we will be facing increasing deforestation, as well as a disastrous loss of valuable ecosystems and a general decline of biodiversity.   The Belo Monte dam actually serves as the personification of everything that is wrong with our management of the Amazon. Fuelled by corporate greed and political games, the project has been pushed through - despite obvious and pressing concerns for both human life and biodiversity. The loss of valuable nature has been deemed acceptable, while construction errors have made it obvious that the project is a big mistake. Yet this will most likely be ignored - consequences for the people living downstream be damned.   A better metaphor for global environmental policies will be difficult to find. Support, Support, Support: Amazon Watch Before you go! Recommended:  Brazil Is Burning For Your Beef: Amazon’s Nature, Our Luxury Did you find this an interesting article or do you have a question or remark? Leave a comment below. We try to respond the same day. Like to write your own article about the Amazon, Hydro Electric Dams or Climate Change? Click on  'Register'  or push the button 'Write An Article' on the  'HomePage'
The Amazon has long served as one of the world’s final frontiers. It covers well over 7 million square meters, largely comprised of rainforest. The vast size and the unfriendly terrain have led to portions of it still being uncharted, with entire indigenous tribes having only recently been discovered. This has led to an air of mysticism surrounding the region, serving as an active magnet in attracting adventure seekers from all around the world. Amazon Water War All the more reason why it is such a shame that this precious land is disappearing as we speak. Thousands and thousands are suffering directly from the development projects currently being executed in the Amazon. And in a few years, all of us around the world will be suffering from the loss as well.   Why, you ask? There are some key developments that have put the future of the world’s largest rainforest at stake, along with the people, animals and plants that live in it. Some of these developments are initiated by Brazil, the country with the largest share of Amazon land, while others are indeed a truly global effort. Eventually, companies from all over the world will have a hand in the destruction of this glorious piece of nature’s glory. Brazil Belo Monte Dam. Flooding Of Altamira Town And Displacement (2015) Altamira on the Xingu River, a staging area for the controversial Belo Monte hydroelectric project now nearing completion. Long time residents lament the loss of the forests and grittiness of the town. One person who has made it their personal mission to stop this from happening, is Antonia Melo. This impressive lady was born in 1949 and has spent a considerable amount of her life in the Xingu Alive Forever Movement, a coalition of organisations and social movements that are fighting the construction of the Belo Monte dam. Her movement has rallied churches, schools, communities and NGOs in an effort to stop the Belo Monte from being built. This construction project will have far-reaching consequences for the town of Altamira, which will be flooded if the dam is finished. It is not surprising that the locals are speaking out against their forced displacement. Projects like the Belo Monte are at the heart of the issue, showing everything that is wrong with the governmental treatment of the Amazon. Indigenous and non-indigenous communities alike will feel the consequences of this profit-driven decision. The Belo Monte project has been flawed with illegality and prosperous mismanagement, from the unlawful blocking of the river up to the failure to implement health services and the forgoing of demarcation of indigenous lands.   Dismolishing, flooding of Altamira Town and displacement Ultimately, nature and local communities will be hit the hardest by this blatant display of governmental greed. The indigenous people will lose their access to clean drinking water and fishing waters, while the 400+ islands lost represent a disastrous loss of ecosystems, not to mention a drastic hit to the local economy. Recommended:  Asia’s Water War: China, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam Brazils Amazon Dams Risk Destroying Heart Of The Amazon (2016) The Belo Monte dam is not an isolated case. Across the Amazon, there are dozens of major dam projects underway that will irrevocably and irreparably harm its natural glory. Anyone arguing that the economic benefits to this are worth the loss of land and the negative impact that it will have on indigenous people will be hard pressed to find arguments to back up this claim. Just look at the multitude of dams occupying the Tapajós river, which have been hailed by the Brazilian government as the solution to the country’s pressing electricity shortages. They go a long way in fulfilling the country’s ambition to increase their hydropower capacity by 25 gigawatt, while simultaneously leading to the construction of a major waterway that will serve as the highway for the country’s export of soy and crops to Europe. While this sounds like a great plan, the downside is considerable. There is much debate regarding the amount of energy that these dams will actually generate, while the ecological effects are significant. It will flood acres and acres of valuable forest lands, destroying millions of trees and opening the way for major exploitation projects.   Similarly, a project setting out to build the sixth largest hydroelectric dam in the world - the 8,000 megawatt São Luiz do Tapajós dam - will completely obliterate the land of the Munduruku people, once again flooding a considerable amount of the rainforest. Not just dangerous for the Munduruku people, but also for the rest of us, all around the world. Without wanting to sound obnoxious: these rainforests truly are the lungs of the world. A member of the Munduruku indigenous group. The Munduruku people, with a population of 12,000, have lived in the region for centuries. They have been resisting hydropower developments on tributaries of the Tapajós for decades The Munduruku and other people impacted by the construction of dams in the Tapajós river have called out the authorities for their blatant disrespect for nature. Unfortunately it looks as if they are not to be swayed, now that various international companies and banks have expressed their interest in projects like the São Luiz do Tapajós dam. {youtube}                                                           Stand for the Amazon - Keep Tapajós Alive                                            Amazon Water War: Fires, Hydro Dams, Climate Change S.O.S. Recommended:  Water War Between India, Pakistan: Kashmir and Jammu Not a Single Drop More of Indigenous Blood (October, November 2019) As we speak, a group of Brazilian indigenous leaders is taking matters in their own hands. They will attempt to defend the rights of their people and territory by visiting a dozen European countries, starting in Italy and ending in Spain, via Germany, Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, France, Portugal and the United Kingdom. Here, they will shed light on the violations and crimes committed by the Brazilian government, and most notably its highly controversial president Jair Bolsonaro.   Recommended: Indigenous Blood: Not a Single Drop More These leaders include Sonia Guajajara, Nara Baré, Alberto Terena, Angela Kaxuyana, Celia   Xakriabá, Dinamam Tuxá, Elizeu Guarani Kaiowá, and Kretã Kaingang. Every single one of them impressive human beings, who want to establish a dialogue and gain the support of European citizens. Eventually, they hope to kickstart real political action, and highlight the violations of human rights in the region.   Sonia Guajajara By making people, companies and governments aware of the actual circumstances under which goods are produced, they are hoping to call a halt to the growing investments in the region. This is a very important issue, as data from an APIB report published back in April shows that companies from the United States and Europe are most definitely complicit in the destruction of the Amazon. Under the stress of increasing competition, rising demand and falling prices, we are looking at the ugly face of global trade rearing its head. This has now led to blatant ignorance and borderline criminal activities taking place in one of the world’s most sacred places. In the past, it has even led to the armed invasion of indigenous lands in order to exploit their natural riches. Alberto Terena Even criminal organisations and networks are playing a part in the deforestation and wildfires in the Amazon. With the impactful changes in policy made by president Bolsonaro, which have mainly served to loosen environmental regulations, illegal logging and other forms of exploitation of the land have taken flight. Once again, those living in the forest are suffering most from those often violent attacks on their land. The word ‘genocide’ has even been coined to describe this effect. Angela Kaxuyana in the middle A shame, knowing that those indigenous people might play an important role in combatting global climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has actually credited those communities as being the ‘guardians of the forest’, with their sustainable practices and extensive knowledge of the land serving as the guiding principle for meaningful climate change action. Recommended:  Climate Change: Water Scarcity, Hunger, Agriculture And Food Brazil’s Belo Monte Dam In The Amazon Poorly Planned (Nov 2019) Coming back to the controversial Belo Monte dam example mentioned at the beginning of this article, the one that Antonia Melo and her people are fighting hard to prevent. It is not just the matter of preventing the flooding of Altamira town that should bother you. There is a critical flaw in the design of this massive hydroelectric project, one that could potentially threaten human life and global ecosystems in one go. Insider documents and expert testimonies have indicated that the dam’s engineers may have underestimated the undeniable impact that water shortages will have on the Pimental dam, that is currently serving as a downstream barrier. Now, a choice will have to be made between a structural weakening of the dam or the reallocation of water in the reservoir or on the Xingu river. The latter solution will have a major impact on the indigenous communities who live here and rely on the water for their livelihood.   There is a significant risk of the dam rupturing, something so alarming that it has led to federal prosecutors calling for a suspension of the project and emergency aid for those living in the fishing villages that are now faced with a major decline in fish, their main source of food and income. Despite all of this, the dam is still scheduled to open this month, having cost a measly €9.3 billion thus far. While the last of its 18 turbines is being installed, the low water levels in the reservoirs have highlighted those structural problems. A section of the Pimental dam downstream has been exposed, unveiling its incapacity of dealing with major waves that might occur now that the Belo Monte dam is completed. Deforestation at Belo Monte Those living downstream of the dam are rightfully worried, with recent dam disasters in Brumadinho and Mariana still fresh in the collective memory. As of yet, the Brazilian government has not committed to any remedial action or acknowledgement of the risk to the public.   Recommended:  Water War Brewing Over New River Nile Dam: Egypt, Ethiopia Save The Amazon, Save The World It is once again testament to the unwillingness of Brazilian leaders and, indeed, world leaders to take action to save the Amazon. Paradoxically, the Amazon might just be what saves us, provided that it is well taken care of. Now that this appears to be unlikely, we will be facing increasing deforestation, as well as a disastrous loss of valuable ecosystems and a general decline of biodiversity.   The Belo Monte dam actually serves as the personification of everything that is wrong with our management of the Amazon. Fuelled by corporate greed and political games, the project has been pushed through - despite obvious and pressing concerns for both human life and biodiversity. The loss of valuable nature has been deemed acceptable, while construction errors have made it obvious that the project is a big mistake. Yet this will most likely be ignored - consequences for the people living downstream be damned.   A better metaphor for global environmental policies will be difficult to find. Support, Support, Support: Amazon Watch Before you go! Recommended:  Brazil Is Burning For Your Beef: Amazon’s Nature, Our Luxury Did you find this an interesting article or do you have a question or remark? Leave a comment below. We try to respond the same day. Like to write your own article about the Amazon, Hydro Electric Dams or Climate Change? Click on  'Register'  or push the button 'Write An Article' on the  'HomePage'
Amazon Water War: Fires, Hydro Dams, Climate Change S.O.S.
Amazon Water War: Fires, Hydro Dams, Climate Change S.O.S.
Community

A community is you and me. A network of social, economic, ecological and many other relationships. We all work together and live in urban, suburban and rural areas. Social sustainability is becoming increasingly important on our small planet. We define: support, quality of life, development, adaptation, rights and labour.

We belong to a group of individuals - our society - in which we belong geographically. Certain environmental issues play an important role in our society. Here, sustainable solutions are sought, developed and implemented. This may differ from societies in other countries, but because of our global environmental issues and dependence, we must learn to work more together so that we can all benefit from sharing sustainable knowledge to tackle, for example, climate change.

Green architecture is important. Building with local materials that can be recycled and reused brings us a big step forward to have less impact on the environment. With green architecture we can build smart cities where resources can be used more efficiently and information can be shared, thus improving our society, your community.

Lifestyle is the way we live, the dynamics of personality. Fashion defines our self and together with food it is getting - at present - an even more important role in our society. It's not just about taste, but especially about the burden that the fashion industry, agriculture and the meat industry have on our resources, especially water.

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