Chinese study showed that civet cats were the host of SARS virus. although the researcher admitted that it was not known if civet cats were the source of the SARS virus, most samples collected from civets cats were tested positive for SARS.
In anticipation of the coming winter (period of spread for SARS), at least the Chinese authorities are clamping down on consumption of civet cats. But I think the ban should be extended to all game animals that are consumed.
now with tigers in Thai zoo coming down with bird flu, I hope our AVA does not come up with a bright idea to cull cats in S'pore. I can see where their logic will flow: tigers=cats=bird flu!
SARS came from S. China civet cats -- study
Updated: 2004-10-23 10:08
Civet cats were confirmed to be host of the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreaks in south China's Guangdong Province in late 2002, but the animal was harmless in north China.
Professor Zhong Nanshan, a Guangzhou-based medical expert, who helped control and treat SARS during the outbreaks, made the remark at a seminar on lung diseases recently held in Guangzhou, capital city of Guangdong Province.
Studies of 103 civet cats' blood samples collected across China show that 70 percent of the sampled civet cats from Guangdong Province possessed SARS virus while cats from other places such as north China's Hebei Province and east China's Jiangxi Province were free of the virus, said Zhong.
The study, being conducted this year, also found that the SARS virus separated from Guangdong civet cats is of the same as that of SARS patients affected in previous outbreaks, reports Information Daily.
The research of experts from Guangdong and Hong Kong indicates that many of the earliest SARS patients were civet-cats-contacting cooks and foreign traders, further stamping civet cats as the probable source of SARS epidemic.
Currently, it is unclear whether civet cats are source of the deadly SARS disease and how the SARS virus was transmitted from civet cats to human beings, said the professor.
Guangdong Province has launched a preventive plan including a ban on consumption of civet cats in local restaurants to avoid newSARS outbreaks this winter.