Can you have more than one cold at once?

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Offline thedoc

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Can you have more than one cold at once?
« on: 23/02/2016 16:15:58 »
Staffan Lincoln  asked the Naked Scientists:

   Can you have more than one cold at once? How could you tell?


What do you think?
« Last Edit: 23/02/2016 16:15:58 by _system »


Offline evan_au

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Re: Can you have more than one cold at once?
« Reply #1 on: 19/01/2016 10:39:28 »
Yes. There are hundreds of different viruses that produce the generic "common cold" symptoms; identifying which one you have requires a genetic or antibody test. You could easily catch two viruses at once, just as easily as catching them a week apart.

But there is a particular scenario that is important for influenza epidemics: If humans and animals live in close proximity (eg pigs or ducks on a family farm), it is possible for an animal to catch (say) pig influenza and human influenza at the same time.

Because of the way influenza consists of separate strands of genetic material, it is possible for a hybrid virus to form, containing both pig and human virus. Humans may have little or no resistance to this new virus, so it could cause an epidemic.

Swine flu (pigs), Avian flu (chickens or ducks) and MERs (camels) may well have formed in this way.