U.S.: Another monkey virus goes to the person

22.03.2004

22.03.2004


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Hunting for primates and use their meat in the diet may lead to infection of the consumer one of the varieties of the virus carried by the monkeys, including hominids. Experts say that the consequences of human infection with simian foamy virus (simian foamy virus, SFV) is not yet known, however, believe that in the same way for the first human spread of HIV.

In its publication in the journal "The Lancet", scientists from Johns Hopkins University warn that the only way to prevent the spread of the new virus — restriction of the use of meat primates. It is believed that the HIV two decades ago called hunting and eating wild primates — gorillas and chimpanzees and other apes, who were carriers of the simian immunodeficiency virus (simian immunodeficiency virus, SIV).

"Our work has shown that retroviruses are actively spreading to the human species. And also that people in central Africa today are infected with SFV"

Dr. Nathan Wolfe,

Johns Hopkins University

It is believed that SIV, SFV and related retroviruses are not able to overcome the inter-barrier, except for those cases when a person comes into direct contact with infected blood. Recent research carried out with the involvement of 1,800 people in rural communities in Cameroon, 1100 of them so while hunting in contact with the blood of primates. Ten of them had antibodies to SFV. Further genetic analyzes have shown that they do not become infected from a single animal.

Potential problems

"Our work has shown that retroviruses are actively spreading to the human species — said lead researcher Dr. Nathan Wolfe. — And also that people in central Africa today are infected with SFV." The scientist added that it is now possible emergence of the human species SFV — the same scenario in which is believed to biologists, SIV evolved into HIV. "Contact with other primates that happen when hunting and butchering meat, may play a role in the emergence of human retroviruses — says Dr. Wolfe. — And reducing hunting of primates can reduce the scale of the emerging outbreak."

And Dr. Martin Peters of the Institute for Research and Development French city of Montpellier, warns that the inter-species (zoonotic) diseases — "one of the most important health problems of all that threaten humanity." According to her, foamy viruses are not associated with any whatsoever disease in humans, and there is no evidence that they can be passed from person to person. However, adds Dr. Peters, almost nothing is known about the potential impact SVF for the person in the future, as there are very few documented cases of human infection with this virus. So, she concludes, we can not exclude the possibility that some types of the virus can cause illness, perhaps after a long incubation period.

Battery News, 19.03.2004 12:37
Source: BBC

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