-- Robert Preidt
FRIDAY, July 26 (HealthDay News) -- A new and highly lethal type
of virus that can spread from monkey to monkey may also be able to
spread from monkeys to humans, a new study finds.
This virus is a new type of adenovirus, viruses that commonly
affect people and cause colds, flu-like symptoms and sometimes even
The new pathogen was identified during an outbreak at a New
World colony of titi monkeys in California in 2009. Most of the
monkeys infected during the outbreak died.
At the time, a scientist who worked with the monkeys, as well as
one member of the scientist's family, became ill and were found to
have antibodies to the virus.
In this study, researchers exposed three marmoset monkeys to the
same virus and all three developed a mild "cold-like" respiratory
illness and an antibody response to the infection. All three
monkeys recovered within 12 days.
The findings, published July 24 in the online journal
PLoS One, prove that the new virus can infect and cause
disease in different primate species, said team leader Dr. Charles
Chiu, director of the Viral Diagnostics and Discovery Center at the
University of California, San Francisco.
"This study raises more concerns about the potential of unknown viruses to spread from animals to humans," Chiu added in a university news release. "We still don't understand the full extent of viruses that exist in the world and their potential to cause outbreaks in human populations."
To date, these types of adenoviruses, "have not generally been
linked to cross-species infections between monkeys and humans,"
noted Chiu, an assistant professor of medicine at UCSF. The
findings suggest that adenoviruses should be added to the list of
animal pathogens that could jump the species barrier to infect
humans, he said.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more
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