We find out what’s new in the veterinary world as species-hopping infections come under the spotlight
In the current climate of Covid-19 infection, there has been increased awareness of the unusual property of some infections suddenly to skip between species. C19 itself is known to be a virus that came originally from a wild animal, probably a bat, and then jumped species, acquiring the ability to infect humans.
Over generations, most pathogens develop to live in a kind of balance with their host. After all, the virus or the bacterium would not survive and persist if it killed every infected host animal. This host-pathogen balance means that the majority of infections are specific to one host, having evolved together for a very long time. Just occasionally, however, an infection that has been present in one species for ages hops to another.
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