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Posted Tue Feb 24 2009: from National Geographic News:
How TB Jumps From Humans to Wildlife -- Vet Seeks Clues sunny day in June 2000, [Kathleen Alexander] encountered a different problem: two banded mongooses, so thin their ribs stuck out, wandering around the sand pit where the children liked to play. These groundhog-sized animals are common through sub-Saharan Africa, but they run away from humans. Alarmingly, these mongooses weren't afraid of her. "It was clear they were sick," she recalled.... Alexander trapped one of the animals and tested it. Her tests revealed it was sick with tuberculosis--the human version. For the first time, free-range wild animals were confirmed to have contracted a human disease. Banded mongooses aren't in danger of going extinct. They live across southern Africa in large numbers. But if a disease can jump from humans to one wild animal, it could do the same with others. A new human disease could be disastrous for an endangered species. That includes a lot of primates. Since they're so closely related to humans, it's not hard for them to get our diseases.
[Read more stories about: pandemic, massive die-off]

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