Category:
Disease

Swine Ebola - No Joke!

As if "swine flu" wasn't bad enough, Scientific American is reporting that the Ebola virus has been detected in domestic pigs in the Philippines. The particular strain of the virus, Reston ebolavirus, is not known to cause fatal haemorrhagic fever in humans, but is still rated a class 4 pathogen by the US Center for Disease Control (it's highest rating) because of the extreme fatality rate and absence of effective treatment of the disease caused by other Ebola viruses. One farmhand who worked with the pigs has also tested positive for R.ebolavirus, but is asymptomatic.

In this case it seems like most likely that the pigs caught the disease from the human rather than the other way round. However that pigs can catch and potentially pass on the organism to humans is an unexpected, and worrying, development. Michael McIntosh of the Department of Agriculture expressed concern not only that the Reston strain might mutate into something more deadly in its new host, but that the other disease-causing strains might also be using pigs as a reservoir. "What is the level of risk?" said McIntosh, "We really don't know" (Scientific American Article) (Paper in Science).

Posted By: Dumbfounded - Sat Jul 11, 2009 - Comments (8)
Category: Agriculture, Animals, Armageddon and Apocalypses, Food, Health, Disease

Sick Human Detector

A Belgian company has filed a patent for an invention designed to detect sick travelers in airports. They call it a device for the "RECOGNITION AND LOCALISATION OF PATHOLOGIC ANIMAL AND HUMAN SOUNDS."

The idea is to place microphones around airports that will zero in on the sound of people coughing. The people hacking their lungs out can then be prevented from boarding a plane. A less controversial use of the technology is to detect sick pigs in pig pens.

Can people be stopped from traveling because they have a cold? I've never seen that done, but I'd like it (despite the inconvenience to the sick people) 'cause otherwise they infect everyone else on the plane. Though of course, if I were the one kicked off a plane I'd be seeing red. (via New Scientist)

Posted By: Alex - Tue Mar 17, 2009 - Comments (13)
Category: Health, Disease, Inventions, Travel

Brain Worms

Brain worms can be contracted by eating undercooked pork, as well as by coming into contact with someone who has worm eggs in their body and who hasn't washed their hands.

But the good news about brain worms is that they're generally less dangerous than having a brain tumor. Which is why a Phoenix-area woman was relieved when her brain tumor turned out to be a brain worm. The reason I'm posting this on Weird Universe: because Fox 10 Chattanooga has a video of the worm being removed (still alive) from her brain.

Posted By: Alex - Thu Nov 20, 2008 - Comments (4)
Category: Health, Disease, Medicine

Follies of the Mad Men #42

image
[From Fortune magazine for December 1936.]

Yet another "disease" that Madison Avenue tried to foist upon the public.

Posted By: Paul - Mon Nov 10, 2008 - Comments (5)
Category: Business, Advertising, Products, Furniture, 1930s, Disease

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Alex Boese
Alex is the creator and curator of the Museum of Hoaxes. He's also the author of various weird, non-fiction, science-themed books such as Elephants on Acid and Psychedelic Apes.

Paul Di Filippo
Paul has been paid to put weird ideas into fictional form for over thirty years, in his career as a noted science fiction writer. He has recently begun blogging on many curious topics with three fellow writers at The Inferior 4+1.

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