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Ebola Zaire panic

Steven Poet poets at ccmail.orst.edu
Mon Jul 24 11:32:48 EST 1995

"Robert Morrell Jr." <bmorrell at isnet.is.wfu.edu> wrote:

> That is a matter of semantics, not science.

That is exactly my point.  There is nothing wrong with getting the
attention of the lay public by using picturesque speech.  The danger,
especially in infectious diseases, is to blur the line between good 
scientific data, and blind speculation.  There are many different
kinds of viruses, all with different properties.  Disease outbreak
control strategies, therefore, will differ depending on the virus
causing the disease.    

I try very hard to remove anthropomorphic references in my papers and
presentations.  It is extremely difficult.  Another post pointed out
viral replication "strategies" fits into that category.  I guess 
"mechanisms" would be better.

> Stalk can mean to lie in wait 
> for a victim, or put yourself (through action or adaptation) in just the 
> right place to get the victim. 
> Clearly viruses do exactly that. 

Actually, very few viruses do exactly that.  Parvoviruses are extremely
resistant to inactivation, as are poxviruses (which is one of the 
contributing factors why smallpox was so easy to erradicate), but
most viruses, especially enveloped viruses, are sensitive to
environmental degradation, hand washing, and must be actively spread,
by a host or vector, to another host.  That's why you probably won't
catch herpesvirus from a toilet seat.

Thanks for an interesting discussion.  I think the tomato subject,
however, would fit more in a fruit or vegetable newsgroup.

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