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Blaming The Bats 63

d'alz writes "Bats have long been the subject of various conflicting theories. They have been linked with lethal viruses that cause Ebola hemorrhagic fever, SARS, Nipah or Hendra. But of late researchers have taken a complete shift in these theories. They now claim that bats are being blamed for human mistakes. It now seems that these outbreaks could be a direct result of the encroachments that took place over the years in the rainforests." From the article: "Emerging viruses like the one that causes SARS are symptoms of the drastic, large-scale changes humans are making in the life of the planet. At a time of intense concern about avian flu, it is hardly controversial to argue that human health is linked to animal health. But the field challenges traditional academic divisions, especially the cultural divide between doctors and veterinarians."
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Blaming The Bats

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  • by crazyjeremy ( 857410 ) * on Friday April 28, 2006 @11:23PM (#15225657) Homepage Journal [] article saying Vampire Bats in brazil are killing humans (23 in the last 2 months.) In all 1,300 people have been treated for rabies from bat bites. Some experts blame it on deforestation. Others blame it on lots of cows (really, see article). "Mass attacks on humans have occurred in other cattle regions in Latin America when the cattle are suddenly removed."
    • No it wasn't a cow (they have bigger tails) or a person (which have no tails). I do have a sceintific background and I can tell the difference!

      This was in Africa where normally bats will leave you alone and will fly away if they see people. This one looked a bit strange and when I walked past it dropped down onto me. Luckily for me it didn't bite and I managed to flip it off. The bat was obviously feverish and had the right symptoms.

  • This whole idea is just plain batty.
  • Bats = Good (Score:1, Funny)

    by Markzilla ( 730005 )
    Bat Poop = Guano Guano = Fertilizer for Hops Hops = Good Beer Beer = good Therefore Bats = Good!
  • by SgtPepperKSU ( 905229 ) on Friday April 28, 2006 @11:36PM (#15225712)
    I'd like to share a revelation that I've had during my time here. It came to me when I tried to classify your species, and I realised that humans are not actually mammals. Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment; but you humans do not. Instead you multiply, and multiply, until every resource is consumed. The only way for you to survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern... a virus. Human beings are a disease, a cancer on this planet, you are a plague, and we... are the cure.
    • "Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment"

      Like hell they do. Every mammal on the planet (hell every animal on the planet) grows as fast as it can until natural factors prevent them from expanding any further. Some grow slowly level off as they hit their limit, others grow fast and zoom right past their limits, before undergoing a massive population drop (I want to call these r-type and k-type growth, but its been some time since biology an

  • Humans are a disease of the planetary organism, blahblahblah. Whatever.

    I didn't RTFA so somebody read it and tell me if I'm right.
  • by suv4x4 ( 956391 ) on Saturday April 29, 2006 @12:00AM (#15225853)
    I suggest a reasonable compromise: let's blame Batman.
  • all this time we were blaming steroids, but someone's been corking the bats?
  • Great... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ugmoe ( 776194 ) on Saturday April 29, 2006 @12:53AM (#15226143)
    Now I understand:

    If humans kill animals, it is the humans' fault. If animals kill humans, it is the humans' fault.

    Yep - that pretty much sums it up.

    • Re:Great... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Cadallin ( 863437 )
      What you are missing is this:

      Hypothetically at least, humans have the ability to reason and to distinguish between "good" acts and "bad" acts. Animals don't. Therefore while animals are essentially assigned the status of the criminally insane or children (not compentant to be judged for their actions) humans are assumed to be compentant. Therefore, yes, if a human kills animals, it's the humans fault, because the human made the choice to do so; if an animal kills a human, its the human's fault, because

    • Yes. That's because we are intelligent and have a choice; animals do not. It doesn't matter whether you approach this question from a philosophical or religious background: if shit happens on this planet, it is our fault.
      • if shit happens on this planet, it is our fault.

        Of course! I always knew that somehow the government was controlling earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunamis, and meteors!
        • That's very observant of you because humans are indeed responsible for most of the death and destruction resulting from those natural events.
          • You made a choice to live in a known (or unknown) earthquake zone, to live in a building that cannot withstand a Richter [whatever number] earthquake, etc. Ditto for Volcanos, they don't exactly sneak up on you. You can either choose to take accountability for your actions and life, or you can avoid accountability and live life as a victim.
    • If your kid kills someone it's your fault - if you kill your kid it's your fault. Just can't win!
  • >"it is hardly controversial to argue that human health is linked to animal health." I would argue that perhaps the greater problem is the number of people living in close proximity to these animals. Whereas the diseases listed above may have been confined to non-human animals for long periods of time, the frequency of jumping to humans must depend on the amount of contact they both have. I don't know to what degree animal health fits into this, unless you suggest animals have weakened immune systems
  • the cultural divide between doctors and veterinarians.

    The cultural divide between doctors and veterinarians.

    I'm sorry. You have reached a number that is no longer in service. Message 002.

    I suspect the cultural divide between doctors and veterinarians can wait till Monday.

  • Was the researcher's report put in a professional clear plastic binder?
  • No point in mentioning these bats, I thought. Poor bastard will see them soon enough.
  • Bats. Seriously? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Sontas ( 6747 ) on Saturday April 29, 2006 @02:32AM (#15226516)
    Bats? Bats have been considered a source of Ebola, SARS, and other virulent contaigens? But now some scientist types have awaken from their delusional state and remembered their theory from a decade ago that all these diseases are showing up because of man's encroashment on previously untouched parts of the environment... and we're supposed to buy it? After "bats" was put on the table as a serious contender they expect us to accept the takeback and revert to their time tested "human existence is its own worst enemy" fallback position?


    What the hell? When did this theory start getting serious recognition anyway? I feel like I did 5 or 6 years ago when seemingly out of no where everyone was talking about the theory of the extinction of dinosaurs being caused by an asteroid impact as being more or less fact. When I was in middle school and high school there were a number of theories discussed and no one was given considerably more or less weight than the others. There was the asteroid theory, of course. There was also a climate change theory, a disease theory, a species encroachment theory and probably a couple others I'm not remembering. Then seemingly a few years later I'm reading a web site or a news report or watching TV or something and the death of dinosaurs is attributed to that asteroid, as if it were written on stone and handed down from on high.

    I know now that there was the discovery and research of the yuccatan crater, but still it was very disconcerting that something so fundamental in the "modern" history of the planet had gone from multi-theory to essentially a single theory and I hadn't heard anything about it until some time after the fact. Must have missed that all important week the world was abuzz with the massive shift in dinosaur extinction thought.

    So anyway...


    Really? That's just seems loopy. Of course, encroachment on African, Asian, or Central/South American jungles isn't that good of an explanation for SARS or Bird Flu either, but at least it aint bats. Seriously, bats? Who comes up with this stuff?
    • If you don't pay attention, it's nobody's fault but your own if you get surprised this way.

      Luis and Walter Alvarez proposed the asteroid-impact theory in 1980, not as speculation, but because of the global evidence of iridium enrichment at the K-T boundary. This was reinforced by the discovery of the Chicxulub crater in 1990. To me, that's somewhat more than 5-6 years ago, but you might be using a different calendar... Or a chronosynclastic infundibulum as a proxy server.

      And look! Here's a report sugges []
    • There's an ecological theory that's been around for a decade or more, in which viruses co-evolve with hosts as a kind of natural defense of the host's ecological niche.

      Many animal species harbor viruses that are deadly to other animals, but apparently have few or no effects on them. Hantavirus in rodents is an example.

      So -- the animal population is sitting there using the available resources in an area, and another population tries to move in. If alien species is immunologically naive, the native species
  • Many infectious diseases, in particular the more serious ones, are probably the result of human encroachment into new territory, as well as keeping domesticated animals in large numbers, since animals are the reservoir where new viruses, as well as some common epidemics, come from. Other behaviors that make the situation worse are overuse of antibiotics and widespread travel. Unfortunately, there are no simple solutions to these problems, since it would be impossible to give up these behaviors. Maybe we'
  • Never mind. I know what it is. You hominids are jealous of the wings.
  • That's what you get for stopping in Bat Country.
  • After all, grues and bats are related, aren't they ?
  • Anyone remember the story about Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds coming true? There were crows (or ravens, I forget) that started attacking cars, and now are attacking people in some small town in England? ^^
  • Bats Information. (Score:4, Informative)

    by mad.frog ( 525085 ) <steven@crinklinP ... minus physicist> on Saturday April 29, 2006 @02:45PM (#15228878)
    Bats are an incredibly misunderstood animal, with far more benefit to humans than generally thought. They're also incredibly interesting. Check out the Bat Conservation International website for a lot of interesting information. []
    • Bats eat mosquitos.
      Eliminate bats, there will be an increase in the mosquito population, thereby increasing the chance of blood-born diseases.
      Typical human thinking is to blame nature for man's stupidity.

      It's not nice to F**K with MA Nature, she's a real B**ch to placate.
  • it's that diseases such as Sarburg and Ebola have an easier transmission vector if humans engage in direct contact with bat feces by either eating them, collecting fresh bat guano in caves (where the infectious load is still in active form), or collect fruit near bat caves where it is more likely to be active.
  • Nothing new (Score:1, Troll)

    by Galvatron ( 115029 )
    Most major human diseases (polio, smallpox, mumps, black plague, etc.) were originally carried by animals, especially domesticated animals or pests. Sure, as man comes into contact with previously isolated species, we will continue to bring new diseases to the forefront. Would it be better if we were still living in caves?

"An open mind has but one disadvantage: it collects dirt." -- a saying at RPI