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Thread: Piggies and Shingles

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    Question Piggies and Shingles

    My Mom just got diagnosed with shingles! Do I need to keep my piggie away from her?

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    Cavy Star, Photo Contest Winner pinky's Avatar
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    Re: Piggies and Shingles

    My initial thought is no. Viruses are species specific while bacteria is not. I believe shingles is caused by the chicken pox virus.

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    Cavy Champion, Previous Forum Moderator suzilovespiggie's Avatar
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    Re: Piggies and Shingles

    You are right Pinky. It is a form of chicken pox. It should not affect your piggies.

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    Lethal Guru
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    Re: Piggies and Shingles

    Shingles is caused by the original chickenpox infection never clearing out of a group of nerves. The virus is closely related to herpes, and like herpes it can get into the nerves where it's much harder to get a good immune response. So it really is a chronic infection. The same types of factors that can trigger any chronic infection can bring on shingles: stress, being sick, the immune system "forgetting" what the virus looks like because of lack of exposure to kids with chickenpox, and/or having a suppressed immune system (from steroids, organ transplant, AIDS, or cancer). The virus isn't getting beaten up by the immune system and it boils out of the nerve to make you miserable.

    The chickenpox virus has been found in our closest primate relatives, the other great apes, but I was not able to find anything about it infecting rodents. So your pigs are probably safe from your mom, but make sure she washes her hands after handling them so she doesn't catch anything while her immune system is working on the shingles.

    Incidentally, not all viruses are species specific. Rabies infects any mammal, influenza is a bird virus that's learned to sneak into mammals, measles evolved from a cattle virus called rinderpest, which recently became the second ever pathogen eradicated by humans. HIV was caused by humans eating chimps infected with SIV, which was itself a scramble of two monkey viruses that met up in one chimp that killed and ate both species of monkeys. That being said, chickenpox seems to like only great apes.

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    Cavy Slave schavarry's Avatar
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    Re: Piggies and Shingles

    Quote Originally Posted by salana View Post
    HIV was caused by humans eating chimps infected with SIV, which was itself a scramble of two monkey viruses that met up in one chimp that killed and ate both species of monkeys.
    Where did you find this? Do you have a link? Just curious because I've never heard this particular theory about HIV...

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    Re: Piggies and Shingles

    I listen to a podcast called This Week In Virology, which I totally recommend for anyone who is interested in viruses. There is a core of professors(a virologist, a parasitologist, a science journalist) and they sit and chat about viruses, and get other virologists in who are experts in certain viruses to ask them about 'their' virus. I am on my phone so I can't really go digging in the past episode transcripts and notes for the references tonight, but I will look tomorrow. It should be in one of the HIV episodes.

    This Week in Virology

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    Re: Piggies and Shingles

    All right, here's what I can find. There is a mention of a recombination event in a chimp in the abstract for this article:

    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal.../397436a0.html

    I believe the discussion is in this episode of TWIV.

    TWiV 16: Virology in Saanen, HIV origins

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