Thursday, 9 July 2015

New Squirrel Virus Strain Suspected in Deaths of 3 in Germany

by Rachael Rettner, Senior Writer | July 08, 2015 05:33pm ET

Three people in Germany who worked as squirrel breeders and who all died from brain inflammation may have contracted a new strain of virus from their squirrels, according to a new report of the cases.

The new virus strain belongs to a group of viruses called bornaviruses, which typically infect animals such as horses, sheep and birds. Researchers have debated whether this group of viruses can cause disease in people.

The new findings suggest such viruses do cause disease, and moreover, raise the question of whether this virus "represents an emerging threat" to people in the area, according to a recent statement from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

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