WNS Similarity to AIDS

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WNS Similarity to AIDS

Postby Scott McCrea » Mar 7, 2009 10:23 am

At our grotto meeting last night, the hot topic was WNS. Our medical doctor of the group, said that WNS reminded her of how AIDS was discovered, studied and spread. It took "3-4 years" to find the cause of AIDS and that was with a lot of funding and research. She said her gut feeling is that WNS is a virus and the fungus is opportunistic. AIDS was traced back to Africa, similarly to how WNS has been traced to the Albany, NY area. I asked if she thought it could be influenced by environment or pesticides, etc. She would guess not. She said sometimes virus's just happen—we don't know why.

I don't know if this has been discussed or not, but I found it to be an interesting observation and thought I would share.
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Re: WNS Similarity to AIDS

Postby George Dasher » Mar 8, 2009 9:52 am

I read somewhere that the 1918 Spanish Flu didn't kill a single person.

The virus only weakened them so that the bacteria could do the killing.

I don't know if I agree with that statement or not, but it is something to think about.

Viruses do weaken people and organisms, and then bacteria or a fungus could kill the person or creature.
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Re: WNS Similarity to AIDS

Postby cavergirl » Mar 9, 2009 12:17 pm

In the early days of WNS I was reminded of the early days of AIDS discovery and research and really thought that a virus -some kind of immunodeficiency virus like HIV and FIV (in cats)- might be the primary pathogen and the fungus an opportunist.
And I don't think that has been ruled out by the scientific community.

One thing that has me thinking that less likely now, is that AIDS patients succumb
to various opportunistic infections, basically anything that "comes down the pike", because they cannot fight off infection due to deficiency of their "lymphocytes" (immune cells). These bats seem to all have the same fungus.

also one would expect to find genetic variation in the fungi, even of the same species, from one geographical area to another. Dr. Blehert reported in "Science" that he got the same genetic isolate from all the bats he studied.
Thus it appears that this one fungal isolate is moving with the disease, which lends more credence to the idea that it is a primary pathogen.

The basic act of hibernation- lowering body temperature to near ambient temperature and shutting down most metabolism- may be enough, in itself, to make bats immunosuppressed.
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Re: WNS Similarity to AIDS

Postby Phil Winkler » Mar 9, 2009 12:55 pm

I'm reaching back to my days as a medical technologist, but I don't recall fungi usually being primary pathogens resulting in death. Typically they are infestations. Having said that, I find the earlier comment from a doc suggesting a virus is at play and the fungus is opportunistic very compelling.

That is based on the fact that fungi are everywhere in nature. If conditions don't exist for them to blossom then they form spores to protect themselves until conditions more suitable to their liking happen again. These spores are very, very durable. Heck, I think they even found some in the pyramid tombs that were still viable.

There is a worry now that a fungus that attacks soy beans in Florida has just recently been found in the DelMarVa peninsula and they are worried about the $40 million plus soy bean crop being decimated.

Anyway, the idea that man could be a primary vector here is reaching pretty far, but I admit we simply don't know yet.

However, in order to raise awareness of the issue I recommend everyone start powdering their nose with confectioners sugar and wearing a sign saying: "Ask me about WNS."
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