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Scientists Identify New Forms of Virulent Pathogen

by Sheela Philomena on February 18, 2013 at 3:09 PM
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 Scientists Identify New Forms of Virulent Pathogen

Novel forms of hantavirus - one of the most virulent pathogens have been discovered by scientists.

Hantavirus causes flu-like symptoms which can bring on respiratory and kidney failure in humans. It usually appears as sporadic disease outbreaks such as that in 1993 in a US region bordering New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado and Utah.

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"Our research describes four novel hantaviruses, sampled from bats and shrews in China, which are distinct from known hantaviruses," says study co-author Eddie Holmes, professor and Australia Fellow at the University of Sydney, the journal Public Library of Science Pathogen reports.

"Hantavirus is a major threat to global health, making information that adds to our poor understanding of how it evolved and is transmitted an important contribution to fighting the disease," adds Holmes.
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The finding also suggests there may be additional unrecognised hantaviruses circulating in a wide range of animal hosts, particularly bats, and that the hantaviruses frequently jump hosts, according to a Sydney statement.

The new international research on hantavirus is led by researchers at the China Centre for Disease Control and Prevention to which Holmes contributed.

Source: IANS
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