Otterman speaks... (2003-2007)
Weblog about cycling, macintosh, natural history and life in Singapore.
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Otterman speaks...

Cycling, macintosh, natural history and life in Singapore - Archives

List of Categories : travel * museum * cycling * Singapore Naturalist * science * kakis * mangroves * movies * mac and the internet * meow * NUS * life in Singapore * lit * world *

Fri 09 Jun 2006

Sacred Cows and Sympathetic Squirrels

Category : science

While campus was in a largely single-minded pursuit of specific aspects of biology, Lekowala and myself used to have conversations in the Science Canteen about ecology, evolution and many other aspects of biology.

To keep our spirits up, we called ourselves The Biology Refugia.

The Science Canteen meetings came to an end, so we cranked up a blog with the same name as a natural extension, with help of Alvin and LCP. It's been fading a little, ironically at a time when we are probably reading more than before.

So enter, stage left, some new blood. And Brandon has just highlighted an interesting paper on the "Importance of Biological Diversity to Human Health."

"[Cows in India and squirrels in the US] serve a similar epidemiological function: they receive bites from infected vectors that might otherwise have bitten humans, and they break the chain of pathogen transmission.

In the case of Indian cattle, the bites are from mosquitoes infected with malaria parasites; the squirrels, on the other hand, receive their bites from ticks infected with the spirochetes that cause Lyme disease.

In both cases, the presence of a relatively inefficient host species has reduced the rate of infectious disease spread into the human host population."

- Dobson A., I. Cattadori, R. D. Holt, R. S. Ostfeld, F. Keesing et al., 2006. Sacred Cows and Sympathetic Squirrels: The Importance of Biological Diversity to Human Health. PLoS Med 3(6): e231.

Lekowala will love this one!

Posted at 5:11PM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | , .