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10 Virus Carriers

  iStockphoto/Thinkstock (2) Parke John/Visual
  iStockphoto/Thinkstock (2) Parke John/Visual

MOSQUITO

Carrier of West Nile Virus When fall arrives and temperatures decrease, the mosquito population consequently declines. However, migration season is shortly after, and as birds and mosquitos travel, they bring the virus with them. There are currently 110 species of infected birds, and the number of mosquito species who can transmit the virus has jumped from one to eight.

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  iStockphoto/Thinkstock (2) Parke John/Visual
  iStockphoto/Thinkstock (2) Parke John/Visual

Carrier of Hantavirus Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS) is a deadly disease from rodents. Humans can contract the disease upon coming into contact with infected rodents or their urine and droppings. Although prevalence varies temporally and geographically, on average approximately 10 percent of deer mice tested throughout the range of species show evidence of infection.

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  iStockphoto/Thinkstock (2) Parke John/Visual
  iStockphoto/Thinkstock (2) Parke John/Visual

Carrier of Salmonella Eggs have been the most common food source linked to SE (Salmonella serotype Enteritidis) infections. Most types of salmonella live in the intestinal tracts of animals and birds and can be transferred to humans' food directly or indirectly through feces. Today, SE can silently infect the ovaries of healthy appearing hens before the shells are formed.

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  iStockphoto/Thinkstock (2) Parke John/Visual
  iStockphoto/Thinkstock (2) Parke John/Visual

Carrier of Rabies Rabies is a preventable viral disease of mammals most often transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal. The overwhelming majority of rabies cases reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) each year occur in wild animals like raccoons, skunks, bats and foxes

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  iStockphoto/Thinkstock (2) Parke John/Visual
  iStockphoto/Thinkstock (2) Parke John/Visual

Carrier of Rabies More than 90 percent of all animal cases reported to the CDC now occur in wildlife; before 1960 the majority were in domestic animals. During 2001, 49 states and Puerto Rico reported 7,437 cases of rabies in nonhuman animals.

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  iStockphoto/Thinkstock (2) Parke John/Visual
  iStockphoto/Thinkstock (2) Parke John/Visual

Carrier of Rabies If treated immediately after a bite, it is possible to prevent rabies through a series of shots (a dose of rabies immune globulin and four doses of rabies vaccine). However, once the rabies virus reaches the central nervous system and symptoms begin to show, the infection is effectively untreatable and usually fatal within days.

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  iStockphoto/Thinkstock (2) Parke John/Visual
  iStockphoto/Thinkstock (2) Parke John/Visual

Carrier of Anthrax Anthrax spores can live anywhere and be dormant for centuries. Typically, when animals become infected they don't become ill. Humans can become infected by handling or inhaling spores living in products made from infected animals.

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  iStockphoto/Thinkstock (2) Parke John/Visual
  iStockphoto/Thinkstock (2) Parke John/Visual

Carrier of Anthrax Anthrax can also be spread by eating undercooked meat from infected animals or carried on the clothing of anyone who has been exposed. Infection has even been contracted from the burial site of an infected animal 70 years later.

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  iStockphoto/Thinkstock (2) Parke John/Visual
  iStockphoto/Thinkstock (2) Parke John/Visual

Carrier of Anthrax Anthrax spores can exist in the soil for decades. They can survive boiling, freezing and even suspension in alcohol. They drift gently in the wind, dormant until they find a new host (either human or animal) and they begin to multiply rapidly.

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  iStockphoto/Thinkstock (2) Parke John/Visual
  iStockphoto/Thinkstock (2) Parke John/Visual

Carrier of Anthrax Because anthrax is so lethal, it can be used as a potent biochemical weapon. It can cause damage either through casual contact through skin, which leaves distinctive black lesions — or through the more deadly way of inhalation.

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