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WHO | Novel coronavirus infection – update

WHO | Novel coronavirus infection – update | Virology News | Scoop.it
The United Kingdom (UK) has informed WHO of another confirmed case of infection with the novel coronavirus (NCoV). The patient is a UK resident and a relative of the case announced on 11 February 2013.
Ed Rybicki's insight:

This looks like person-to-person transmission; they also say the new case is a person who has "pre-existing medical conditions that may have increased susceptibility to respiratory infections".  So: like SARS, a nasty disease that can be transmitted between humans.  Let's hope it goes no further!  Thanks @cupton1!

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Virology News
Topical news snippets about viruses that affect people.  And other things. Like zombies B-)
Curated by Ed Rybicki
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Successful Ebola vaccine provides 100% protection in trial

Successful Ebola vaccine provides 100% protection in trial | Virology News | Scoop.it
Trial also demonstrates ability to develop vaccine quickly during outbreak.

The Guinea trial  — named Ebola, ça suffit (Ebola, that's enough, in French) — tested a ring vaccination design, a strategy that was borrowed from successful smallpox eradication efforts in the 1970s. After one patient contracts the disease, their close contacts are vaccinated in hopes of stemming the virus' onward spread.

The Guinea trial included two arms: one in which adult contacts and their contacts were vaccinated shortly after the first patient developed Ebola, and a second in which contacts instead received the vaccine three weeks later2. The trial tested a vaccine composed of an attenuated livestock virus engineered to produce an Ebola protein, called rVSV-ZEBOV. The vaccine was developed by Public Health Agency of Canada and then licensed to the companies NewLink Genetics and Merck.

Of the 2,014 people who received the vaccine immediately as part of the first arm, none developed Ebola 10 days after getting the vaccine (a window that allows for the vaccine to summon an immune response and accounts for pre-existing infection). That compares with 16 infections among 2,380 people who got the vaccine 3 weeks later. This translates to 100% protection from the virus, though the true figure may be slightly lower due to the study's small size, Kieny says. 

 
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Excellent!  Really excellent news!!

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The boom in mini stomachs, brains, breasts, kidneys and more

The boom in mini stomachs, brains, breasts, kidneys and more | Virology News | Scoop.it
Biologists are building banks of 'organoids', and learning a lot about human development on the way.
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Targeting the Vaginal Mucosa with HPV Pseudovirion Vaccines Delivering SIV DNA

Targeting the Vaginal Mucosa with HPV Pseudovirion Vaccines Delivering SIV DNA | Virology News | Scoop.it

The majority of HIV infections occur via mucosal transmission. Vaccines that induce memory T and B cells in the female genital tract may prevent the establishment and systemic dissemination of HIV. We tested the immunogenicity of a vaccine that uses human papillomavirus (HPV)-based gene transfer vectors, also called pseudovirions (PsVs), to deliver SIV genes to the vaginal epithelium. Our findings demonstrate that this vaccine platform induces gene expression in the genital tract in both cynomolgus and rhesus macaques. Intravaginal vaccination with HPV16, HPV45, and HPV58 PsVs delivering SIV Gag DNA induced Gag-specific Abs in serum and the vaginal tract, and T cell responses in blood, vaginal mucosa, and draining lymph nodes that rapidly expanded following intravaginal exposure to SIVmac251. HPV PsV-based vehicles are immunogenic, which warrant further testing as vaccine candidates for HIV and may provide a useful model to evaluate the benefits and risks of inducing high levels of SIV-specific immune responses at mucosal sites prior to SIV infection.

 

HPV graphic courtesy of Russell Kightley Media

Ed Rybicki's insight:

I missed this when it came out - can't think why - but it is a simple and elegant extension of a very useful technology. That is, making pseudoviruses in cell culture then using them to deliver DNA vaccines to gential mucosal tissue via normal papillomavirual infection routes.

And of course, we can do it with plants...B-)

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New vaccines for malaria, HIV and Ebola can spread diseases - NOT!

New vaccines for malaria, HIV and Ebola can spread diseases - NOT! | Virology News | Scoop.it
New vaccines for malaria, HIV and Ebola can spread diseases say shocking stats
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Talk about disinformation!  This extrapolates information garnered during a test of Marek's disease virus in poultry - where "...a “leaky” vaccine against Marek’s disease prevented treated birds from dying but allowed the virus to survive and kill un-vaccinated birds" - to humans.

Where WE DON'T YET HAVE an HIV vaccine OR an Ebola vaccine OR in fact a released malaria vaccine!!

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Plant Virus Metagenomics: Advances in Virus Discovery

Plant Virus Metagenomics: Advances in Virus Discovery | Virology News | Scoop.it
In recent years plant viruses have been detected from many environments, including domestic and wild plants and interfaces between these systems-aquatic sources, faeces of various animals, and insects. A variety of methods have been employed to study plant virus biodiversity, including enrichment for virus-like particles or virus-specific RNA or DNA, or the extraction of total nucleic acids, followed by next-generation deep sequencing and bioinformatic analyses. All of the methods have some shortcomings, but taken together these studies reveal our surprising lack of knowledge about plant viruses and point to the need for more comprehensive studies. In addition, many new viruses have been discovered, with most virus infections in wild plants appearing asymptomatic, suggesting that virus disease may be a byproduct of domestication. For plant pathologists these studies are providing useful tools to detect viruses, and perhaps to predict future problems that could threaten cultivated plants.
Ed Rybicki's insight:

"...virus disease may be a byproduct of domestication". Barbara von Wechmar used to say that back in the 1980s - based on her being able to pull viruses out of symptomless wild plants.  Nice to see evidence for it!

And I leave the fuzzy pic of Darren in to punish him for not sending me the paper B-)

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Nigeria Makes Polio Progress, But Challenges Remain

Dear Colleagues,

 

Tomorrow, 24 July, Nigeria will reach an important milestone: one year without a single case of wild polio anywhere in the country. As we recognize this meaningful step on the path to global polio eradication, we also see how much we still need to do to keep the virus out of Nigeria and protect children from its crippling effects.

 

Like many of you, I have spent much of my life working to make sure children have a chance at a healthy future. Nigeria now has a strong platform to end polio thanks to the hard work and dedication of the Nigerian government, community and religious leaders, polio survivors and thousands of health workers. We're vaccinating more children than ever before against polio and have instituted a number of programmatic innovations over the last few years, including establishing Emergency Operations Centres to coordinate polio program efforts, creating health camps to deliver other services alongside vaccines, and engaging key local leaders to build trust in vaccination.

 

However, Nigeria has come close to finishing polio in the past and then allowed the virus to make a comeback, leading to a resurgence of cases and the reinfection of multiple countries from Cameroon to Indonesia. Now is not the time for celebration or complacency. If my country is going to go two more years without a case and be certified polio-free, along with the rest of the WHO African region, we must strengthen vaccination campaigns, improve surveillance systems to detect polio outbreaks quickly, and stop circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus. The Nigerian government, international partners, health workers, and you and I must remain completely committed to this goal.

 

This isn't just about Nigeria; it's about making sure children across the continent and world are protected from the disease. In our global society, polio anywhere is a threat everywhere. In the next few weeks, once there's confirmation that all samples from the previous 12 months have tested negative for polio and surveillance standards are satisfied, Nigeria will be officially taken off the list of endemic countries, leaving only two countries that have never interrupted polio transmission: Pakistan and Afghanistan.

 

Tomorrow, I hope you will join me and take a moment to recognize Nigeria's accomplishment. If you are interested in raising awareness about this moment on social media, please feel free to use the graphics and sample tweets found in this resource.

 

I look forward to working with you all in the coming years to make sure Nigeria and the WHO African region continue on the road to polio-free certification and want to thank you for your continued support of the eradication effort.

 

Regards, 

Oyewale Tomori 

 

 

Oyewale Tomori

President, Nigerian Academy of Science

Academy House: 8A Ransome-Kuti Road, University of Lagos Campus, Akoka, Yaba, Lagos, Nigeria

Ed Rybicki's insight:

Sobering yet joyous news!

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MERS CoV outbreak cuts sharply into S Korea growth

MERS CoV outbreak cuts sharply into S Korea growth | Virology News | Scoop.it
South Korea's economic growth is hit sharply by the Mers outbreak and continued weak exports.
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The cocktail of drugs that can stop HIV in its tracks

The cocktail of drugs that can stop HIV in its tracks | Virology News | Scoop.it
Cocktail of drugs stops HIV in its tracks: Treatment is 93% successful in preventing virus being transmitted through sex

The researchers also revealed interesting findings about the relationship between viral load, viral suppression, treatment failure and drug resistance.

It took longer to suppress the virus in people who began with a relatively high viral load (a high level of HIV in the blood) at the start of treatment, they found.

This, in turn, was associated with both treatment failure and the treatment failed more quickly.

They also found that those who had a higher viral load when they joined the study, and for whom treatment failed, were more likely to develop resistance to their antiretroviral drugs.

 

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Virus International - On the Net....in 1995!

Virus International - On the Net....in 1995! | Virology News | Scoop.it

Anyone remember Elsevier's "Virus International"? A print magazine, summarising important articles in Virology - with, from 1995, a column on the back page entitled "On The Net".  Wherein I chronicled the web-based endeavours of like-minded folk - yes, including Virology Down Under, as I recall??  Anyway, turns out the Wayback Machine has preserved the material - amazing!

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Small Genetic Change Yields Edible Maize

Small Genetic Change Yields Edible Maize | Virology News | Scoop.it
Researchers attributed corn’s soft, edible casing to a single DNA base swap in its ancestor’s genome.

“Humans completely reshaped the ancestor of corn, effectively turning the cob inside out. Our results show that a small genetic change has had a big effect on this remarkable transformation,” study coauthor John Doebley, a plant geneticist at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, said in a statement. Studies done over the last few decades indicated that transforming the single stalk of tough kernels with no central cob into the corn we know today required alterations in just six genes—one of which, tga1, is a master regulator of other genes involved in making the kernel casing.

 
Ed Rybicki's insight:

And incidentally, made it impossible for maize to survive in the wild: it doesn't "shatter" cobs to disperse seed anymore, and the soft and juicy kernels are pest magnets.  So it's a GMO.  Really: it owes its existence to human selective breeding.

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The Most Imbecilic And Pretentious Commentary Ever Written About Genetic Engineering

The Most Imbecilic And Pretentious Commentary Ever Written About Genetic Engineering | Virology News | Scoop.it
The New York Times is often biased and inaccurate in its news coverage and commentaries on genetic engineering, but a commentary by Mark Spitznagel and Nassim Taleb represents a new low. Their logic, which leads them to posit the possibility of worldwide catastrophe from modern genetic engineering, is exactly backwards.
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Amen!

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nMAbs against EV71 screened from mice immunized with yeast-produced VLPs

nMAbs against EV71 screened from mice immunized with yeast-produced VLPs | Virology News | Scoop.it
Abstract: Periodic outbreaks of hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) occur in children under 5 years old, and can cause death in some cases. The C4 strain of enterovirus 71 (EV71) is the main pathogen that causes HFMD in China. Although no drugs against EV71 are available, some studies have shown that candidate vaccines or viral capsid proteins can produce anti-EV71 immunity. In this study, female BABL/c mice (6–8 weeks old) were immunized with virus-like particles (VLPs) of EV71 produced in yeast to screen for anti-EV71 antibodies. Two hybridomas that could produce neutralizing antibodies against EV71 were obtained. Both neutralizing mAbs (D4 and G12) were confirmed to bind the VP1 capsid protein of EV71, and could protect >95% cells from 100 TCID50 EV71 infection at 25 μg/mL solution (lowest concentration). Those two neutralizing mAbs identified in the study may be promising candidates in development for mAbs to treat EV71 infection, and utilized as suitable reagents for use in diagnostic tests and biological studies. 
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Of course, they should have been made in plants...

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New prevalence estimate of TTV in healthy population and patients with chronic viral hepatitis in China

New prevalence estimate of TTV in healthy population and patients with chronic viral hepatitis in China | Virology News | Scoop.it
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Aurora found around brown dwarf beyond our Solar System

Aurora found around brown dwarf beyond our Solar System | Virology News | Scoop.it
An aurora has been spotted around a brown dwarf more than 18 light years away, scientists report.
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Virus-resistant pigs

Virus-resistant pigs | Virology News | Scoop.it
By genetically engineering pigs to degrade a crucial virus protein, animals can be made less susceptible to foot and mouth disease virus.
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Now for the wings...B-)

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Ebola and Marburg are Millions of Years Old - and in rodent genomes

Ebola and Marburg are Millions of Years Old - and in rodent genomes | Virology News | Scoop.it

Ebola and Marburg are 16 to 23 million years old, not thousands of years old as once thought, according to a recent PeerJ paper.

The new research also indicates that while Ebola and Marburg are both filoviruses, they diverged from each other millions of years ago. This means they may be less alike than thought, which could impact research on therapies.

This is of considerable interest, said Robert Gifford, senior research fellow at University of Glasgow Center for Virus Research. An expert in viral evolution, he was uninvolved in the PeerJstudy. While Gifford long suspected Ebola was ancient, he didn’t know Ebola and Marburg diverged so long ago.

 
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Sierra Leone begins treating Ebola patients with survivors' plasma

Via Ebola Deeply: Sierra Leone Begins Treating Ebola Patients with Survivors' Plasma. The first donations of plasma from survivors of the Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone are being used to treat Ebola patients at the 34 Military Hospital in Freetown,...
Ed Rybicki's insight:

It’s a Sierra Leonean innovation; a local solution to a local problem that must be celebrated...Ummm...no. No, it's not. It was done in 1995 in what was then Zaire, too.

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Ebola Leads To Unexpected Rise In Malaria Deaths

Latest in the law of unintended consequences is the finding of a rising number of malaria deaths in Guinea as patients avoided treatment centers, fearing either being quarantined among those afflicted with Ebola, or being mistreated.A new study in The Lancet Infectious Diseases shows that the deaths from malaria are likely to greatly exceed the total number of deaths caused by Ebola itself.

There were an estimated 74,000 fewer cases of malaria seen in Guinea healthcare facilities, as outpatient attendance dropped almost in half. As lead author, Dr. Mateusz Plucinski (of the CDC and President’s Malaria Initiative) explained, “One problem is that the early symptoms of malaria (fever, headache, and body aches) mimic those of Ebola virus disease…Malaria is one of the main causes of fever and health facilities visits in Guinea, but our data suggest that since the start of the Ebola epidemic people with fevers have avoided clinics for fear of contracting Ebola or being sent to an Ebola treatment centre.” Interestingly, this treatment drop extended to districts without any reported Ebola cases.

Ed Rybicki's insight:

Good reason to be more scared of malaria than Ebola.....

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US Tests Vaccine for West Nile Virus

US Tests Vaccine for West Nile Virus | Virology News | Scoop.it
The U.S. National Institutes of Health is beginning a trial of an experimental new vaccine designed to protect against West Nile Virus. 

The virus, spread mostly through mosquito bites, led to nearly 100 deaths in the United States last year, and over 2,200 cases.

The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of NIH, said West Nile Virus "has emerged as an important health threat" in the United States since first appearing in the country in 1999.

The clinical trial will test the safety of the experimental vaccine as well as its ability to produce an immune response. Fifty healthy men and women will participate, being randomly assigned to receive either a low dose of the vaccine, a higher dose, or a placebo.

NIH said the virus used to make the vaccine was inactivated and could not cause an infection of West Nile Virus. During studies on rats, the vaccine was effective at producing an antibody response which protected the rats against a lethal dose of the virus.
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Antiviral compound protects nonhuman primates against Marburg virus

Antiviral compound protects nonhuman primates against Marburg virus | Virology News | Scoop.it
An experimental drug that protected monkeys from the deadly Marburg virus appears to have potential for treating people who have been exposed to the virus, according to a study published in the July 23 edition of The New England Journal of Medicine. Marburg virus is closely related to Ebola virus and also causes a severe hemorrhagic fever.

The research was jointly conducted by the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) and the biotechnology firm Sarepta Therapeutics, Inc., using a compound known as AVI-7288.

Taken together, the results of efficacy testing conducted in nonhuman primates and safety testing performed in a Phase I clinical trial suggest that AVI-7288 has the potential to be used to treat Marburg virus infection in humans when administered post-exposure, according to the authors.
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Virus threatens Texas roses

Virus threatens Texas roses | Virology News | Scoop.it
A deadly virus has struck roses in the Dallas area - and may be spreading.
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Actual roses B-)

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Ebola Zaire 1976 & 1995

Ebola Zaire 1976 & 1995 | Virology News | Scoop.it
To: virology@net.bio.net From: roberts@thorin.uthscsa.edu (J.P. ROBERTS, MD) Subject: Ebola Zaire 1976 & 1995 Date: 12 May 95 11:17:56 CST The New York Times today reported a CDC report that the strain of Ebola isolated in the current outbreak in Kikwit, Zaire is very similar biochemically (immunologically?) to the strain from the Zaire 1976 outbreak. A simultaneous outbreak in 1976 in neighboring Sudan was from a slightly different strain. Detailed reports on both of these outbreaks were published in The Bulletin of WHO in 1978; this is probably available iin most university libraries. Epidemiological investigation of the Sudan and Zaire 1976 outbreaks revealed no evidence of airborne transmission. Transmission was primarliy by the use of contaminated (pre-used) needles and syringes or by close contact with bodily secretions. Casual contact was not a risk for transmission. Ironically, what halted the two outbreaks was closing the hospitals involved. Standard infection control practices such as those routinely used with HIV-infected patients in the US are sufficient to prevent transmission. Unfortunately, such simple devices as latex gloves, masks, and gowns are often unavailable in central Africa. -- End -- To: virology@net.bio.net From: roberts@thorin.uthscsa.edu (J.P. ROBERTS, MD) Subject: Ebola Date: 14 May 95 04:33:11 CST I've been reviewing virtually all of the peer-reviewed publications about Ebola. After reading The Hot Zone, it's clear that much of what is known about Ebola virus has not been published in peer-reviewed press. Here are some tidbits I haven't seen posted yet in this thread: 1976 Sudan 284 cases 53% mortality 1976 Zaire 318 cases 88% mortality 1979 Sudan "small" 65% mortality 1989 Reston, VA monkeys 1995 Zaire unknown unknown 1972,77,78 Zaire isolated cases The 1989 Reston strain was similar to the 1976 Sudan strain. (source: J.Clin.Path., 43:813). The 1995 Zaire strain is similar to the 1976 Zaire strain. (source: NY Times, 5-12-95) The Reston strain infected four humans without causing illness. The infection rate (how many of those who get virus get the disease) is unknown but is probably around 75%. Studies of rural central Africans have shown that 7-17% of them carry antibodies to Ebola. This strikes me as a rather high rate for such an apparently virulent disease. Nevertheless, it implies that some or even many cases of Ebola infection are mild or even asymptomatic. The best summary I have seen of the viral hemorrhagic fevers is in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, Feb 26, 1988. MMWR should be in any university or municipal library. Bear in mind that since Ebola's incubation period (the time from infection until illness) is up to 15 days and there is no rapid serologic test, it will be 2-3 weeks before we can know whether the current outbreak is contained. --- John P. Roberts, MD (roberts@uthscsa.edu) San Antonio, Texas "It bothers people when you are lucid and ironic." - A. Camus  
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Here's a blast from the past for you, courtesy of the Wayback machine!  And another 20 years on.

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Molecular evidence of Ebola Reston virus infection in Philippine bats

In 2008–09, evidence of Reston ebolavirus (RESTV) infection was found in domestic pigs and pig workers in the Philippines. With species of bats having been shown to be the cryptic reservoir of filoviruses elsewhere, the Philippine government, in conjunction with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, assembled a multi-disciplinary and multi-institutional team to investigate Philippine bats as the possible reservoir of RESTV.
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Ed Rybicki's curator insight, July 18, 6:05 AM

I recall at the time of its discovery, thinking that the virus must have reservoir species back home in the East - and that the fact that no disease had ever been reported from there in humans, meant it was completely under the radar.

There was also the issue that the virus seemed to have been transmitted between monkeys in the Reston facility without any direct contact - and even between rooms, which would imply airborne transmission.

Which frightened the cr@p out of many people, and I am sure especially those primate centre workers who were found to be seropositive for the virus, in the absence of any symptoms - even though at teh time, unsanitary conditions and overcrowding were blamed (http://www.mcb.uct.ac.za/ebola/ebolair.html).

It is still something that needs to be looked at seriously: is Ebola Reston more transmissible than Zaire, Sudan and the rest - and if so, why?

Those interested can pick up on what happened at the time, here on the Ebola information pages I ran for a while:

http://www.mcb.uct.ac.za/ebola/ebopage.htm

 

 
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Home Leone: Experiences from a diagnostic laboratory in an Ebola Treatment Centre - BugBitten

Home Leone: Experiences from a diagnostic laboratory in an Ebola Treatment Centre - BugBitten | Virology News | Scoop.it
I recently returned from a five-week deployment to Port Loko, Sierra Leone, where I was working as a diagnostic laboratory staff member in an Ebola treatment centre (ETC). When I was offered deployment in April, several friends commented ‘Isn’t Ebola over now? I’ve not heard anything on the news for a while…’ Although the situation... Read more »
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Cats as a potential source of emerging influenza virus infections

Cats as a potential source of emerging influenza virus infections | Virology News | Scoop.it

Historically, the influenza virus has not been regarded as a major pathogen of cats. However, since 2003, natural infections of domestic cats with highly pathogenic H5N1 avian virus causing fatal cases have been reported(Songserm et al., 2006; Yingst et al., 2006; Klopfleisch et al., 2007). Furthermore, infections of this animal with A(H1N1)pdm09 virus, causing respiratory illness with some fatal cases, have also been reported in various parts of the world(Fiorentini et al., 2011; Campagnolo et al., 2011; Pigott et al., 2014). These reports revealed that cats are susceptible to influenza A viruses, resulting from bird-to-cat or human-to-cat transmission, and were supported by the detection of several virus subtypes in domestic cats through serological studies(McCullers et al., 2011; Ali et al., 2011; Zhao et al., 2014; Su et al., 2013). In other reports, the H3N2 dog virus was also transmitted to cats in Korea and China, causing respiratory illness(Songet al., 2011; Lei et al., 2012). These findings provide further evidence that cats should be included among the animals that are responsible for interspecies transmission of influenza A virus. Moreover, the findings of these reports suggest that cats may play a role as an intermediate host in which a mutant virus with p and emic potential could emerge. To validate this possibility, here we conducted a serological survey of human and avian influenza virus infections in cats, from either H5N1 virus-endemic or non-endemic areas.

 
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Bugger off, kitty kitty B-(

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