Scientists say there is a new virus called simian foamy virus (SFV) that can be transferred from primates to humans. While it's not clear what type of health effects SFV will have on humans, researchers recommend a reduction in the hunting and consumption of bushmeat to prevent the spread to humans.
To understand this threat, scientists studied 1,800 people from nine rural communities in Africa. Researchers say 1,100 of the people reported being exposed to blood or body fluids of primates from hunting. Study authors say 1 percent of the exposed participants had antibodies to SFV.Researchers say their findings show that retroviruses are actively crossing into human populations, and demonstrate that people in central Africa are currently infected with SFV.
Contact with non-human primates, during hunting and butchering, can play a part in the emergence of human retroviruses, and the reduction of primate bushmeat hunting has the potential to decrease the frequency of the disease emergence.
However researchers say that so far no diseases have been observed in humans from foamy viruses but if this virus behaves like HIV, it is possible that foamy viruses could happen in humans after a long incubation period.