Monday, January 12, 2009

Day-glo mice and hantavirus

We won't cover partner networks and superspreaders for another few weeks, and then it will be in the context of human diseases; however, the New York Times had an article today that links zoonoses (diseases that spread from animals to humans) and partner networks. The study, which involves dusting wild mice in Utah which are hosts for the Sin Nombre virus with vibrant powder, shows that a small number of individual mice are responsible for the majority of virus spread. These mice are called "superspreaders." When dusted mice contact other mice through mating or fighting, they leave behind powder on the other mice, allowing the researchers to monitor natural contacts between mice in the wild. These are the same types of contact that spread disease.

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