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New Virus Discovered In Guinea: Sangassou Hantavirus

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posted on May, 24 2006 @ 05:59 PM
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A new hantavirus variant has been discovered in mice in Guinea, Africa. They don't know much about the virus yet and they don't know if it is dangerous to humans. However, they believe it is likely that it could be transmitted to humans and they have advised that measures should be taken to avoid it. Another hantavirus variant killed about 20 people in the USA in 1993. People in Guinea are adviced not to eat uncooked mice and they recommend families to keep cats as pets. They also say that food should be protected against contact with mice.


allAfrica.com: Mice Away, Virus At Bay

May 24, 2006



Scientists who discovered a new variant of the hantavirus, in Guinea, have advised that measures be taken to avoid its possible transmission to humans. The virus is carried by a type of mouse, Hylomyscus simus, which is found in forested areas of Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana. "We don't know at this point if this new virus, named the Sangassou hantavirus, is dangerous for humans, but we're in the process of investigating (the matter)," said Dr Jan ter Meulen, head of the research team.

While he has been quoted as saying that people should not be unduly afraid of the virus, ter Meulen nonetheless thinks that it probably is able to be transmitted to humans. Hantaviruses present in Europe, Asia and the United States are known to cause disease in humans -- and may even prove fatal: in 1993, about 20 people died from the virus in the United States.

"For the moment, we can only advise people to avoid all contact with the mice in which we discovered the Sangassou hantavirus. Above all, they must avoid being bitten...or eating the uncooked flesh of these rodents...In addition, food must be well protected to avoid contact (with mice)," he noted. Children are said to eat the mice on occasion, for amusement. Scientists also recommend that families keep cats as pets, as these prey on the mice that harbour the Sangassou hantavirus. "It is necessary to make people who have contact with this type of mouse aware (of the virus). At the same time, we must push ahead with research on the virus, to understand its process of evolution," said Koivogui.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

One thing I found a bit strange is that they recommend people to keep cats as a measure to avoid getting the virus. What if the cats get infected by the virus? If mice can infect humans by biting, wouldn't an infected cat also be able to spread the virus to humans?




posted on May, 24 2006 @ 07:35 PM
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One thing I found a bit strange is that they recommend people to keep cats as a measure to avoid getting the virus. What if the cats get infected by the virus? If mice can infect humans by biting, wouldn't an infected cat also be able to spread the virus to humans?


Being bitten by an infected mouse and being around a cat who ate an infected mouse are two totally different things. First, you must take into account that the virus may not have receptors capable of infecting cats. Second, if this holds true, the virus, once ingested by the cat, will simply be digested by pepsin just like any other peptide compound. However, if it is found that this virus can indeed infect cats, then having cats around may be a bad idea. I doubt, though, that they would suggest having cats around if a notable infection had been seen in cats found in the infection zone.

MFP



posted on May, 24 2006 @ 07:38 PM
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Keeping cats controls the rodent population.

Its is unlikely the disease could be passed to cats. Its interesting that rodents and humans tend to have alot in common, hence, why humans and rodents share alot of diseases. However, diseases that affect rodents dont affect cats. Take the black plague for example. Rats carried the disease, which was transfered to humans. yet cats seemed to be unaffected by it and helped control the rodent population when the idiots who ran the church at the time stopped killing them.

Cats have their own diseases. Those diseases are generally limited to cats, except rabies, which can affect any spiecies. Cat scratch fever and toxioplasmosis are the only two diseases I know of that cats carry and are unaffected by, but can transmit to humans. But the benefits of cats far outweigh the risks, especially when dealing with disease carrying rodents.

But what can I say. I am an unabashed and proud cat lover and worshiper, and always shall sing the praises of the benefits and pleasures of our often demoniozed and misunderstood purring, pawing, meowing little friends.




posted on Jul, 20 2006 @ 04:59 AM
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Skadi



We must simply get more cats! When the plague is coming we must be prepared. I got a cat myself. I don't have any flies anymore in my home. Everytime a fly comes flying in the open window, he catches it, kills it and eats it. He is a very effective fly killer machine. I got no worries about mice or rats (never seen any). They should get themselves lots of cats in Guinea. I hope they know that cats takes care of cleaning themselves. It doesn't need a shower every day. ActuaIly, it doesn't need to take a bath at all. Unless it got all messed up somehow. I've heard horror stories from Vietnam where they were not used to hold cats as pets. So when they suddenly had one as pet, they gave it a shower every day. Poor cat, but he's ok now. The daily showering has been stopped




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