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Cats Likely Source of SARS, Say Researchers (Chinese delicacy likely source of deadly virus)
VOA News ^ | 5/23/03 | Katherine Maria

Posted on 05/23/2003 9:17:52 AM PDT by ppaul

A Hong Kong researcher says a wild animal considered a dining delicacy is the carrier of a virus that causes SARS. The finding fits earlier speculation that Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome originated in wild animals.

Hong Kong University revealed Friday that the civet cat, a wild animal indigenous to southern China, is the likely source of the virus that causes Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome.

Dr. K.Y. Yuen said researchers at the Shenzhen Center of Disease Control found four strains of the virus in a large percentage of civet cats. "From a special type of civet cat, we are able to isolate the coronavirus," he said, "and this coronavirus on genomic analysis was found to be very similar to the coronavirus causing SARS in humans. But if you cannot control the further jumping of such virus from animals to human, the same epidemic can occur again."

The civet, a small long mammal with short legs and a pointed snout, is a delicacy in southern Chinese cuisine. Dr. Yuen says the disease likely jumped from animal to human when it was being killed or prepared for cooking.

But the cats themselves do not display any signs of illness, according to Dr. Yuen, perhaps indicating their immune system might be geared toward controling the virus. Dr. Yuen said the finding might not lead to a vaccine or cure for SARS in humans, but he urged people in China to stop selling the animals in food markets to limit possible transmission of the virus.

In a separate development, the World Health Organization on Friday lifted its travel advisory on Hong Kong and the Chinese province of Guangdong. Hong Kong's leader Tung Chee-hwa welcomed the decision.

The advisory went into effect on April 2, when the WHO saw the disease spreading rapidly through Hong Kong, and no one knew why or how. Airlines, hotels and restaurants suffered huge losses, as tourists and business travelers deferred visits to the region and Hong Kong residents stayed home.

Detected in southern China last November, SARS started spreading in Hong Kong in early March. It was then carried to other cities around the world by airline travelers. The disease, which causes a potentially deadly pneumonia, has afflicted more than 8,000 people worldwide with almost 90 percent of cases occurring in China and Hong Kong. Globally, SARS has killed more than 700 people.



TOPICS: Breaking News; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: cat; cats; china; civets; disease; epedemiology; epidemic; epidemiology; feline; health; plague; publichealth; quarrantine; respiratory; sars; sickness; syndrome; virus
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Great news from The People's Republic!
1 posted on 05/23/2003 9:17:53 AM PDT by ppaul
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To: ppaul
(to the tune: Cat's in the Cradle - Thanks Wierd Al)

Did you ever think
when you eat Chinese
It aint pork or chicken
but a fat Simese...

2 posted on 05/23/2003 9:20:04 AM PDT by Zavien Doombringer (If common sense is so common, why is it so difficult to find it?)
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To: ppaul
Cat. The other white meat.
3 posted on 05/23/2003 9:21:13 AM PDT by Chewbacca (My life is a Dilbert cartoon.)
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To: ppaul
I hate cats.
4 posted on 05/23/2003 9:23:36 AM PDT by Renatus
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To: ppaul
Just a little Info on Civet Cat, Found to Have SARS via AP

_ APPEARANCE: The civet cat, found across the world, resembles a large weasel, with a long, catlike body with a large tail. The civet's fur can be gray or brown, have stripes or spots, and bands of color on its tail. Some are between five and 11 pounds, but it can weigh up to about 25 pounds.

* USES: Civets are considered a culinary delicacy in China. Some types of civets are hunted for their fur. Civets also secrete musk that can be used to make perfume.

* TRAITS: Of the family Viverridae, the civet cat is a primarily nocturnal animal closely related to the mongoose. There are several species. Some are carnivores that live on the ground, while the animals with SARS in China are masked palm civets, which live in trees and eat fruit.
5 posted on 05/23/2003 9:26:23 AM PDT by Eric Esot
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To: Zavien Doombringer
RE: Cat's in the Cradle

LOL!!!
More! More! More!

6 posted on 05/23/2003 9:28:33 AM PDT by ppaul
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To: Chewbacca
Another menu item off the Chinese Buffet restaurant!
7 posted on 05/23/2003 9:29:25 AM PDT by ewing
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To: Renatus
Me too. Why do they carry so many diseases? I've always wondered about the cats around pregnant women thing.

Sorry cat lovers, I've tried, but I just don't like them!

8 posted on 05/23/2003 9:35:58 AM PDT by Lijahsbubbe
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To: ppaul
Ok, to the tune of Cat's in the Craddle - Lyrics by Weird Al

Cat's in the Kettle

Did you ever think when you eat chinese It ain't pork or chicken but a fat siamese? Yet the food tastes great so you don't complain But that's not chicken in your chicken chow mein Seems to me I ordered sweet and sour pork But Garfield's on my fork He's purrin' here on my fork

There's a cat in the kettle at the Peking Moon The place that I eat every day at noon They can feed you cat and you'll never know Once they wrap it up in dough boys They fry it real crisp in dough.

Chow Lin asked if I wanted more As he was diallin' up his buddy at the old pet store I said "Not today, I lost my appetite" There's two cats in my belly and they want to fight.

I was suckin on a roll-aid and a tums or two When I swear I heard it mew boy And that is when I knew

There's a cat in the kettle at the Peking Moon I think I gotta stop eating there at noon They say that it's beef or fish or pork But it's purrin there on my fork There's a hairball on my fork

9 posted on 05/23/2003 9:36:26 AM PDT by Zavien Doombringer (If common sense is so common, why is it so difficult to find it?)
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To: Eric Esot
Civets also secrete musk that can be used to make perfume.

I wonder if they used the musk in a special sauce?

10 posted on 05/23/2003 9:37:22 AM PDT by Lijahsbubbe
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To: ppaul
I heard it was monkey brains back in January.

This would also coincide with the Toronto cases, as they serve monkey.
11 posted on 05/23/2003 9:39:46 AM PDT by mabelkitty
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To: ppaul
WHO Traces SARS Virus to Civet Cat

By JONATHAN FOWLER, Associated Press Writer

GENEVA - The World Health Organization (news - web sites) has traced the SARS (news - web sites) virus to the civet cat and two other small mammals in China, and researchers are investigating a possible link to the outbreak of the virus in humans, an official said Friday.

Researchers from the University of Hong Kong examined 25 animals representing eight species in a live animal market in southern China and found the SARS virus in all six masked palm civets they sampled, as well as in a badger and a raccoon dog.


Klaus Stohr, chief SARS virologist at the World Health Organization, said Friday it was impossible to tell from the study whether any of the animals spread the virus to humans or whether they caught the virus from people.


The researchers said people could have been infected by the animals as they handled the animals while raising, slaughtering or cooking them. Eating fully cooked meat was probably safe, the researchers said.


Civet cats are nocturnal animals related to the mongoose, with long tails and catlike bodies. They resemble small raccoons or weasels.


The researchers said it was possible that animals got SARS from human feces used in fertilizer, and the illness did not originate with them. They recommended such game animals should be raised, slaughtered and sold under careful monitoring. Researchers have previously said SARS came from animals but not been sure what kind.


Meanwhile, the WHO lifted its SARS-related travel advisories Friday against Hong Kong and the Chinese province of Guangdong, and scientists in Hong Kong have found the SARS virus in three species of small mammals traded at a food market.


Also, an American physician with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (news - web sites) who was helping Taiwan battle SARS left the island Friday on a charter flight for Atlanta after developing a fever and other symptoms possibly caused by the virus.


Though the WHO said the virus was under control in Hong Kong and China's southern Guangdong province, it continued to advise against nonessential travel to the Chinese capital, Beijing, and to the regions of Hebei, Inner Mongolia, Shanxi and Tianjin. It also continued to advise against travel to Taiwan, because of continuing new transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome.


There also have been no recent reports of cases being exported to other countries from Hong Kong or Guangdong. All new cases in the past 20 days have occurred in people who were "already identified as contacts of a person with SARS and under active surveillance by the local health authorities," WHO added.


SARS has infected more than 8,000 people worldwide and killed at least 689, the vast majority in China and Hong Kong.


"The outbreak in many areas of China is ongoing, and will require continuing intensive efforts as well as a rapid injection of new resources to fully contain SARS," WHO said.


Also Friday, a private jet departed Taiwan for the United States carrying an American physician who came down with possible SARS symptoms. He had been sent to the island by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


Taiwan's SARS Control Committee identified the doctor as Chesley L. Richards Jr., an infection control expert.


Richards arrived in Taiwan on May 15 and had visited the emergency rooms and intensive-care units at two Taipei hospitals where SARS outbreaks were reported, Taiwanese officials said.


This week, he developed a fever and a cough — common SARS symptoms, CDC director Dr. Julie Gerberding said Thursday at the centers' headquarters in Atlanta.


WHO said the SARS virus has infected chains of up to 15 people and appears to be just as hardy in its last victim as in its first. Some other viruses mutate over time, and their ability to transmit weakens.


WHO says it is seeking $200 million to launch a fund to help Asian nations combat SARS through medical surveillance and analysis.

Taiwan reported 55 new SARS cases Friday but no new deaths. The island's total number of infections is 538 and the death toll is 60. That gives the island the third-highest toll after mainland China and Hong Kong.

In Canada, health officials say they fear that four people in a Toronto hospital may be ill with SARS. All four are in a respiratory isolation ward, two in critical condition.

Health officials, who learned of the cases late Thursday and do not yet know how the people may have been exposed to the disease, said they cannot say for certain if these are the city's first new SARS cases in over a month. The city last reported a new case of SARS on April 19.

In Singapore, a newspaper reported that some parents are keeping their children chilled with ice water and air conditioning before classes so they won't be sent home with suspected fevers as part of anti-SARS measures.
12 posted on 05/23/2003 9:43:02 AM PDT by jgrubbs
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To: mabelkitty
with the Toronto cases, as they serve monkey.

They serve monkeys in Toronto? Would that be the dish or the patrons?

13 posted on 05/23/2003 9:43:19 AM PDT by Cachelot (~ In waters near you ~)
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To: Judith Anne; Mother Abigail; CathyRyan; per loin; Dog Gone; Petronski; InShanghai; Ma Li; ...
Ping.
14 posted on 05/23/2003 9:46:42 AM PDT by aristeides
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To: ppaul
Just another reason to hate cats.
15 posted on 05/23/2003 9:47:46 AM PDT by conservababeJen
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To: Renatus
Civet "cats" are not cats. They do have cat-like faces, but are in the same family as the mongoose.
16 posted on 05/23/2003 9:48:40 AM PDT by CobaltBlue
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To: conservababeJen
The chinese are CRUEL to those cats. They skin them ALIVE! Saw a documentary about this - its SICK what they do to those animals. Glad the cats are fighting back...
17 posted on 05/23/2003 9:49:40 AM PDT by Roughneck (Get the U.N. out of the U.S, and get the U.S. out of the U.N.)
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To: Cachelot
They serve monkeys in Toronto? Would that be the dish or the patrons?

Yes.
18 posted on 05/23/2003 9:49:43 AM PDT by adam_az
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To: ppaul
Cats from Outer Space?
19 posted on 05/23/2003 9:52:12 AM PDT by Eowyn-of-Rohan
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To: Roughneck
You think the Chinese are cruel to CATS??? (they are, of course)

That's nothing compared to how they treat brown bears...

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&q=bear+bile+farm

They keep them bound in cages with a tube surgically implanted to let the bile drip from their gall bladder for use in Chinese folk remedies.

The bears are kept immobilized for years because if they are allowed to move, they tend to disembowel themselves from being driven mad by pain.

20 posted on 05/23/2003 9:53:42 AM PDT by adam_az
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To: ppaul
I just knew this was the fault of Cats!


21 posted on 05/23/2003 9:58:39 AM PDT by Physicist
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To: ppaul
Garfield, call your office!


22 posted on 05/23/2003 9:59:38 AM PDT by sourcery (The Evil Party thinks their opponents are stupid. The Stupid Party thinks their opponents are evil.)
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To: Renatus
One of my favorite bumper stickers: "I love cats. They taste just like chicken".

And one of my favorite lines to use on cat lovers to truly show my disdain... "cats are for kickin' and eatin'"...

Apologies to the feline fans.

23 posted on 05/23/2003 10:00:09 AM PDT by D. Brian Carter
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To: jgrubbs
So they traced the source. This still begs the question, was it natural or assisted? If natural, then why didn't it happen 1000 years ago?
24 posted on 05/23/2003 10:01:54 AM PDT by GOP_1900AD (Un-PC even to "Conservatives!" - Right makes right)
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To: ppaul
And I was so looking forward to what "Iron Chef Chinese" Chen Kenichi would do with it, when Chairman Kaga unveiled civet cat as the special ingredient.
25 posted on 05/23/2003 10:05:36 AM PDT by Physicist
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To: belmont_mark
"So they traced the source.

I wonder what made them even think of the civet cat, in the first place?

26 posted on 05/23/2003 10:06:20 AM PDT by Exit148 (Another $3+ for the Loose Change Club contribution tord the next Freepathon!)
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To: CobaltBlue
Civet "cats" are not cats. They do have cat-like faces, but are in the same family as the mongoose.

So civets are actually a kind of goose? ;^)

27 posted on 05/23/2003 10:10:10 AM PDT by Physicist
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To: Physicist
All your lung are belong to us.
28 posted on 05/23/2003 10:15:37 AM PDT by Britton J Wingfield
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To: ppaul

Hey! Who doesn't like to eat some pu**y once in a while?
29 posted on 05/23/2003 10:15:41 AM PDT by Spruce
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To: jgrubbs
as well as in a badger and a raccoon dog.

Not in a 'coon dog!!!

I'm going to go out in the back yard and shoot Ol' Yeller right now.

30 posted on 05/23/2003 10:18:31 AM PDT by Dog Gone
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To: Exit148
They probably suspected exotic wild animals, because the first SARS victim was a Guangdong chef who is famous for his exotic meat cooking skills.

They suspected the SARS virus might have originated in poulty but the first several victims were not poulty farm workers. So, it points to this chef, and points to other animals. They might have tested all the types of exotic animals this chef cooks
31 posted on 05/23/2003 10:23:59 AM PDT by The Pheonix
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To: D. Brian Carter
LOL! With the large Texas cats at my house, you'd better kick, -- run! ---, then eat. And when you eat it should be in another room. LOL.
32 posted on 05/23/2003 10:24:28 AM PDT by txzman (Jer 23:29)
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To: ppaul
Not just any old cats. Space alien cats.
33 posted on 05/23/2003 10:27:28 AM PDT by Constitutionalist Conservative (http://c-pol.com)
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To: belmont_mark
Animals of all kinds from all over the world are sent to the Asian markets.

SARS could have been sent to Asia from anywhere in the world if it didn't spring up in China,itself.

34 posted on 05/23/2003 10:28:37 AM PDT by Free Trapper
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To: Chewbacca
ROTFLMAO!!!!
35 posted on 05/23/2003 10:29:22 AM PDT by xkaydet65
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To: Physicist
...All your infected mongeese are belong to us !...

Ever notice how most Chinese restaurants in the U.S. are situated next to pet shops or animal hospitals ?

No joke...they really are.
36 posted on 05/23/2003 10:31:57 AM PDT by PoorMuttly ("No Kibble - No Peace"")
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To: Free Trapper
Interesting point.
37 posted on 05/23/2003 10:34:37 AM PDT by PoorMuttly ("No Kibble - No Peace"")
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To: CobaltBlue
"Civet "cats" are not cats. They do have cat-like faces, but are in the same family as the mongoose.

But can you tell the difference between the two when they are in Mongolian pork?

38 posted on 05/23/2003 10:38:19 AM PDT by DannyTN (Note left on my door by a pack of neighborhood dogs.)
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To: PoorMuttly
Exotic meat should cost much more than farm bred animals,isn't it? Farming livestock have economy of scale, whereas exotic meat is available only when some hunters happens to bag one

so, why would any Chinese restaurant serve you exotic meat when farm meat are so much cheaper
39 posted on 05/23/2003 10:38:22 AM PDT by The Pheonix
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To: ppaul
Interesting to say the least. Here's a link that might be of interest I posted today:

Click here.

40 posted on 05/23/2003 10:39:28 AM PDT by MeneMeneTekelUpharsin (El que rie ultimo, rie mejor.)
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To: Spruce
HEY - that doesn't taste like chicken to me..!!!
41 posted on 05/23/2003 10:40:46 AM PDT by Xphantasos
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To: ppaul
My two cats are precious to me.
42 posted on 05/23/2003 10:48:59 AM PDT by Saundra Duffy (Free Miguel)
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To: belmont_mark
Exactly.

The full genome of the viruses in these cats needs to be sequenced and compared with the Sars isolate genomes already determined.

43 posted on 05/23/2003 10:52:21 AM PDT by tallhappy
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To: ppaul
Dr. Yuen says the disease likely jumped from animal to human when it was being killed or prepared for cooking.

*** IN-BAD-TASTE WARNING in 3... 2... 1....

So then... what is the proper serving temperature for cats?

Sorry! Sorry! Just a joke! I love cats! They're so yummy and....

Ack! Sorry! That was a joke too! Somebody STOP me....

Dan
44 posted on 05/23/2003 10:52:41 AM PDT by BibChr ("...behold, they have rejected the word of the LORD, so what wisdom is in them?" [Jer. 8:9])
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To: ppaul
Another virus coming from a mamel. Just great.
45 posted on 05/23/2003 11:02:29 AM PDT by yonif
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To: ppaul

46 posted on 05/23/2003 11:04:28 AM PDT by yonif
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To: ppaul

47 posted on 05/23/2003 11:06:24 AM PDT by yonif
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To: Zavien Doombringer
Poodle Hat! :-)
48 posted on 05/23/2003 11:11:13 AM PDT by Chemist_Geek ("Drill, R&D, and conserve" should be our watchwords! Energy independence for America!)
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To: Roughneck
If it's the documentary that I saw on HBO, they (the Chinese) are indeed barbaric and sick. They dip LIVE cats in boiling oil to burn off their fur, then take them out. The cats are still alive at this point, and screaming in pain. Then, they take a club and beat their heads in.

I saw it, I saw it all. And I got physically sick and angry at the same time.

49 posted on 05/23/2003 11:29:14 AM PDT by rintense (Freedom is contagious. And everyone wants to catch it.)
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To: Renatus
i love my kitty....this is the cats' revenge for eating them ....good kitties!!!
50 posted on 05/23/2003 11:35:15 AM PDT by downwithterrorism
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