Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Bats Harbor New Deadly Respiratory Virus

In June, a 60-year-old man checked into a hospital in Jedda, Saudi Arabia, with a mysterious illness. The man, who had acute pneumonia and failing kidneys, eventually died.

Now, the genetic sequencing of the virus behind his death suggests it was a new one, and it came from Asian bats. The findings, which were published Nov. 20 in the journal mBio, may help scientists understand what makes the mysterious virus so deadly.

"The virus is most closely related to viruses in bats found in Asia, and there are no human viruses closely related to it," said study co-author Ron Fouchier, of the Erasmus Medical Center in the Netherlands, in a statement. "Therefore, we speculate that it comes from an animal source." 

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