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Connection between extinction of passenger pigeon and Spanish flu?

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  • Connection between extinction of passenger pigeon and Spanish flu?

    A few weeks ago i read this entry in wikipedia.

    In the early 1800s, commercial hunters began netting and shooting the birds to sell in the city markets as food, as live targets for trap shooting and even as agricultural fertilizer and mast food. The bird painter John James Audubon described the rigorous slaughter: "Few Pigeons were then to be seen, but a great number of persons, with horses and wagons, guns and ammunition, had already established encampments on the borders. Two farmers from the vicinity of Russelsville, distant more than a hundred miles, had driven upwards of three hundred hogs to be fattened on the pigeons which were to be slaughtered. Here and there, the people employed in plucking and salting what had already been procured, were seen sitting in the midst of large piles of these birds. The dung lay several inches deep, covering the whole extent of the roosting-place."
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passeng...and_extinction

    Is it possible, that the virus shift of H1N1 happend through such practices in the decades before "Spanish flu"??
    Last edited by Coleman; April 26, 2007, 02:44 PM.

  • #2
    Re: Connection between extinction of passenger pigeon and Spanish flu?

    there was a thread about this earlier on another board
    which may not be linked to (or Snowy will put me in the box...)



    OK, some other links:

    http://www.si.edu/encyclopedia_si/nmnh/passpig.htm

    http://www.wildbirds.org/apidesay.htm
    Last edited by gsgs; April 27, 2007, 12:14 AM. Reason: links
    I'm interested in expert panflu damage estimates
    my current links: http://bit.ly/hFI7H ILI-charts: http://bit.ly/CcRgT

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Connection between extinction of passenger pigeon and Spanish flu?

      I know these sites ...
      But - there is nothing to read about my hypothesis ...

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      • #4
        Re: Connection between extinction of passenger pigeon and Spanish flu?

        ..and that's why I consider it unlikely.
        Any die off due to viruses should have been noticed and reported.
        Such an event like the extinction of a huge species usually
        triggers speculations - no signs of disease here.
        While other non-virus explanations sound reasonable.
        I'm interested in expert panflu damage estimates
        my current links: http://bit.ly/hFI7H ILI-charts: http://bit.ly/CcRgT

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Connection between extinction of passenger pigeon and Spanish flu?

          I know that the mass slaughter and the deforestation (destroying of the habitat) were the causes of the extinction, as further reason ND is mentioned in some reports.

          I didn't targeted directly to the extinction with my question, but to the practices to mast pigs with culled birds - and that in vast quantities.
          IMO thats a dangerous practice which could lead to an virus shift, assuming that the passenger pigeons were carrier of H1N1. At least they were carrier of Newcastle Disease according to some reports. But to my information ND was introduced to Newcastle from China in 1927, so i don't know how valid this information can be considered.
          The problem is, that to that time it wasn't very much known about virus diseases. E. g. in this paper they didn't know anything about viruses in 1918.
          http://www.oznet.ksu.edu/historicpub...Pubs/SC070.PDF

          In 1889 e.g. Prof. Nothnagel claimed that the disease influenza is a bacteriological disease!
          The first isolation of influenza viruses happend in 1933.
          The first isolated influenza virus in germany was found in 1934.

          http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Influenza
          Last edited by Coleman; April 27, 2007, 12:07 PM.

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          • #6
            Re: Connection between extinction of passenger pigeon and Spanish flu?

            In the meanwhile we know that the highly pathogenic AI-virus H5N1 has emerged from viruses of a goose and two quails - detailed information, if required are here ...
            http://www.jncc.gov.uk/PDF/pub07_wat..._part4.2.4.pdf

            But are there any genetic investigations which species could have been involved in the evolution of the highly pathogenic H1N1 (Spanish flu) virus? Which birds?
            IMO, it must have been birds, which had contact to mass production of pigs (i.e. as mast food, comparable with the integrated fishfarming systems, which are in charge for the development of HP AI H5N1). I can't imagine, that this virus has emerged only in pigs. Thats absurd.
            Last edited by Coleman; June 30, 2007, 03:39 PM.

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            • #7
              Re: Connection between extinction of passenger pigeon and Spanish flu?

              Interesting speculation, coleman!
              The event described occurred approx 100 yrs before the Spanish Flu, so a direct connection is unlikely. But any significant interaction between populations of one species seems to provide oppportunities for reassortment and recombination. Significant interactions between species seems like a possible node where a virus can jump species.
              There's all different kinds of melting pots.
              Upon this gifted age, in its dark hour,
              Rains from the sky a meteoric shower
              Of facts....They lie unquestioned, uncombined.
              Wisdom enough to leech us of our ill
              Is daily spun, but there exists no loom
              To weave it into fabric..
              Edna St. Vincent Millay "Huntsman, What Quarry"
              All my posts to this forum are for fair use and educational purposes only.

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              • #8
                Re: Connection between extinction of passenger pigeon and Spanish flu?

                100 years?

                There was a slow decline in their numbers between about 1800 and 1870, followed by a catastrophic decline between 1870 and 1890,[5] at the end of which they were rare and beyond the point of recovery.
                I think 30 years are still enough for a reassortment in the masted pig populations.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Connection between extinction of passenger pigeon and Spanish flu?

                  As avian influenza has probably been in evolution for millions of years, it is to suppose that an extensive equilibrium has been established as to host range and host interaction.

                  The problem comes up when frequent opportunity to host change is linked with high population densities. This has been mainly effected in context with human intervention.

                  An exact tracing of the viral evolutionary pathways is only possible on a genetic basis. Taubenberger interpretes the 1918 sequences as purely avian but - as pre 1918 avian HA's dont't match with the 1918 HA -puts into doubt a direct bird/human - transmission. A - hypothetic -mammalian intermediate host should have left traces - espacially if you suppose an evolution over 100 years.

                  For details see: Taubeberger: Origin and evolution of the 1918 ??Spanish?? influenza virus
                  and
                  1917 avian influenza virus sequences suggest that the 1918 pandemic virus did not acquire its hemagglutinin directly from birds.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Connection between extinction of passenger pigeon and Spanish flu?

                    it would be interesting to see, which flu-viruses caused
                    the epidemics and seasonal outbreaks before 1918,
                    and which apparantly was completely wiped out.

                    Was it also "avian" ? Does this outwiping occur regularly , and why ?

                    That would mean, that influenza just evolves in birds
                    with small temporary intervals of human evolution -
                    but the human viruses only survive some
                    decades or centuries before they get replaced by avian ones
                    or by new reassortments.

                    But you can follow back the serotypes and the evolution rate,
                    and it was suggested that the serotypes have common ancestors
                    just only some thousands of years ago.

                    Another paper suggested that the amount of possible serotypes
                    or genotypes is rather limited and that they reoccur.
                    http://www.pnas.org/cgi/reprint/0702154104v1

                    We had a thread, whether H5N1 existed before 1900 here
                    some months ago (I can't refind it now)
                    I'm interested in expert panflu damage estimates
                    my current links: http://bit.ly/hFI7H ILI-charts: http://bit.ly/CcRgT

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Connection between extinction of passenger pigeon and Spanish flu?

                      For an interesting discussion on the different possible origins of 1918 H1N1, see http://ec.europa.eu/research/biotech...nn_reid_en.pdf

                      Contributors include J. Taubenberger.

                      Conclusion

                      ? Data is not consistent with any of the conventional
                      theories of where pandemic influenza strains
                      originate
                      ? Most likely explanation is a currently unknown
                      reservoir of influenza virus, similar to wild
                      waterfowl strains at amino acid level, but
                      evolutionarily separate long enough to acquire
                      many synonymous changes

                      .
                      "The next major advancement in the health of American people will be determined by what the individual is willing to do for himself"-- John Knowles, Former President of the Rockefeller Foundation

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                      • #12
                        Re: Connection between extinction of passenger pigeon and Spanish flu?

                        someone should examine the pre-1918 outbreak-data.
                        It could be possible to detect whether there were two different
                        serotypes cirulating at that time. Or whether there are patterns
                        in how the seasonal waves spread , depending on the virus.
                        I'm interested in expert panflu damage estimates
                        my current links: http://bit.ly/hFI7H ILI-charts: http://bit.ly/CcRgT

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Connection between extinction of passenger pigeon and Spanish flu?

                          Again - I don't assume of 100 years ... the peak of mass culling was between 1870 and 1890. Maybe it's improbable, that a highly pathogenic virus need 30 years, maybe not. But finally it would be interesting which species were the carrier for spanish flu. Which pervers practices like masting pigs with wild birds are used to that time as well?

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