sick virus
Beware of the Diseases You Are Putting into Your Mouth
It's often said that diseases enter through the mouth. The novel coronavirus, COVID-19, which has spread rapidly throughout the world in 2020, is suspected to have come from wild animals such as snakes and bats. People's insatiable gluttony to enjoy the taste of all kinds of animals has now backfired to threaten our very existence.
In fact, the boom in human population since the last century has also led to a dramatic increase in demand for meat. Yet, as soon as we discover a disease spreading among livestock, humans immediately exterminate the animals. Not only do we violate their right to live, we humans also add to our karmic crime of killing.
  • Ebola Virus: Initial outbreaks began in 1976 in sub-Saharan Africa. This occurred after humans came in contact with infected wild animals such as monkeys and antelopes, then the virus spread among humans. Over the years, Ebola has continued to affect various African countries, with the Democratic Republic of the Congo still battling with a current outbreak in 2020.
  • Mad cow disease: In 1996, the British government found that the disease was related to "infectious spongiform encephalopathy" in humans. In order to increase the protein intake of cattle, the agricultural industry fed meat-and-bone meal to young calves and dairy cows. It is believed the meat-and-bone meal fed to cattle contained the remains of cattle who had spontaneously developed the disease.
  • Foot-and-mouth disease: An ancient infectious disease that occurs in nature, which affects artiodactyls (even-toed ongulates such as pigs, cows, giraffes). Although less harmful to humans, humans cull animals to stop the disease. A pandemic broke out in Taiwan in 1997, causing large numbers of livestock to be culled, with the disease is yet to be eradicated.
  • SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome): In November of 2002, people started to develop atypical pneumonia in Guangdong, China. Apart from China, the epidemic resulted in 8,096 infections and 774 deaths worldwide. According to research, the SARS virus is parasitic on animals such as civets, bats, monkeys, and snakes. The virus was transmitted to humans through consumption of these animals.
  • Avian Influenza: A viral infectious disease, which usually only affects birds. In 2004, avian influenza was discovered in East Asia with birds migrating across national borders and leading to a multinational pandemic. Apart from the large number of poultry deaths, 20 people died in Vietnam. To prevent further transmission among wild birds, once a case was found in one area, all the birds on the farm would be culled.
  • Rabies: An acute viral encephalomyelitis. Once infected, the fatality rate is almost 100%; however, it can be avoided through vaccination. In July 2013, Taiwan still discovered cases in wild animals such as ferrets and palm civets.
  • Hantavirus: A virus parasitic to rodents, discovered around the time of World War II. Although humans can only be infected if they accidentally inhale droplets of diseased mouse secretions (such as urine and feces), cases continue to appear in various parts of the world. Severe cases can lead to respiratory failure and shock.
  • African swine fever: First discovered in Kenya in 1921, it is an acute, highly infectious viral disease characterized by short onset and high mortality rate. It has spread from Africa to Europe, South America, Russia, and China.
  • 2019 new coronavirus COVID-19: First discovered at the end of 2019 in Wuhan, China, it has spread globally to become a pandemic. Passive wild animals such as bats, snakes, and civet cats are suspected hosts. Humans first got sick after ingesting the virus, which then passed from human to human through respiratory droplets.