Racial Vilification of Rats: Defending Against Rat Racism By Uncle Len, Man and Mouse

     Living alone in my shed, like a post-apocalyptic survivor of the collapse of the West, I spend a lot of time talking to rats, as such future survivors will not. Rather, short of food, facing the Grim Reaper of starvation, everything that walks or crawls with meat will be eaten, including the ever-lovable cockroaches. But today I speak on rats, who are given a bad press because of the multitude of diseases they carry;

“In 2018, infectious disease experts at the University of Hong Kong came across an unusual patient. The 56-year-old man, who had undergone a liver transplant, was showing abnormal liver functions with no obvious cause. Tests found that his immune system was responding to hepatitis E – but they couldn't actually find the human strain of the hepatitis E virus (HEV) in his blood. Hepatitis E is a liver disease that can also cause fever, jaundice and an enlarged liver. The virus comes in four species, which circulate in different animals; at the time, only one of these four was known to infect humans. With tests for that human strain of HEV negative, the researchers redesigned the diagnostic test, ran it again – and found, for the first time in history, rat hepatitis E in a human. "Suddenly, we have a virus that can jump from street rats to humans," Dr Siddharth Sridhar, a microbiologist and one of the HKU researchers who made the discovery, said. It was such an unusual and unprecedented infection that the team wondered if it was a "one-off incident, one patient who was in the wrong place at the wrong time"

     I wonder if they will eventually get down to hepatitis Z, then when letters run out, I suppose they will use the Greek alphabet, the maybe runes. Anyway, I have not found any info on this disease in Australia, and until I do, I will assume that my pet rats are “clean,” or at least only having traditional diseases. Until then we must be cautious not to fall into rat racism, seeing all of these lovable disease bags as having exotic diseases.



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Friday, 12 July 2024

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