Whether you believe it or not, cute furry animals such as squirrels are now considered to be a death hazard, whereas squirrel breeders appear to face a great danger.
Based on recent data discovered by Germany researchers, it is believed that a new deadly virus can now be transmitted from a patient zero or the squirrels, to another host, more precisely man. Having been published in the New England Journal of Medicine on the 9th of July, people around the world can now manage to become informed about the new deadly virus that appears to be spreading.
According to HealthDay News, between the years 2011 and 2013, three breeders in Germany had already died because of this. After carefully investigating both the squirrels and the victims, it appeared that all three men with ages between 60 and 70 years old, were in fact breeders of the same squirrel specie, and at one point in their lives, had been injured by the subjects, either through a bite, or even a mere scratch.
By using a quantitative PCR analysis, the medical team was able to match the viral frequencies from squirrels to those of the three men, who all seemed to have developed severe encephalitis symptoms. Only after, has it been made possible to highlight the fact that, what they are facing, is in fact the doing of a RNA virus, which can ultimately lead to the death of the infected.
By using an Illumina Miseq tool to harvest blood, saliva samples and other necessary fluids from one of the squirrels that had been presumed to carry the virus, scientists identified through tissue analyzing that, this new bornavirus or the VSBN-1 as they called it, can easily spread, mainly because of carriers such as birds, cattle, sheep and any sort of small rodents.
It appears that, not long after the men had been exposed to the virus, they began showing signs of specific symptoms which manifested through weakness, inability to walk, fever and even muscle spasms. Not only this, but according to all their CAT scans, all three men appeared to have suffered a swelling in their brains. For the moment, doctors are not certain enough to declare swelling, as one definite characteristic of the bornavirus.
According to D.M.V. senior of diagnostics Martin Beer, it is unclear of whether or not old age and other medical conditions that come along with it, had anything to do with the severe reactions caused by the virus.
For fear of other individuals acquiring this disease, the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control strongly advised the population to stay as far as possible from squirrels and, under no circumstances, are they to feed them. Although Beer stated that, there is no possibility of transmitting the virus from one human to another, and that no other cases have come up since then, people should still pay attention without letting their guards down.
Image Source: i.livescience.com