Towards a potential spread of a hemorrhagic fever virus to humans: experts on the alert

The SHFV virus, simian hemorrhagic fever virus is very virulent for certain species of monkey and it has all the capacities to be transmitted to humans according to a scientific study.

Scientists have highlighted the possibility that a virus present in monkeys may in the near future or not infect humans.

In any case, there are featureseven if for the moment no transmission to humans has been observed.

It’s about the virus SHFV, simian hemorrhagic fever virus which resembles at the level of symptoms to Ebola in particular and who has genetic similarities to HIV responsible for AIDS, as reported by Science and Life.

So this virus presents all the ingredients to worry in case of spread.

A virulent virus

This virus mainly infects monkeys. Scientists have discovered antibodies in a species of monkey, the Patas which are nicknamed the weeping monkeys and which live in Africa.

But what worries scientists is that this virus is very virulent in another species of monkey, macaques.

Because when a macaque is infected with the virus, it shows very serious symptoms, very quickly: feverpuffy and bluish skin, black blood in the stool, then multiple hemorrhages… up to the dead10 to 15 days after the onset of symptoms.

Ability to infect human blood cells

Scientists from the University of Colorado have studied this virus more closely. And by manipulating it in the laboratory, they demonstrated that it had the ability to infect human blood cells.

It also has many characteristics with the simian immunodeficiency virus, which caused HIV, the AIDS virus and in particular that of infecting immune cells once in the human body, develop rapidly and thus prevent any defense of the organism and therefore destroy it against other pathogenic agents in addition to its own.

The researchers published their work and findings in the scientific journal Cell on September 30.

Even if American scientists remain reassuring for the moment, this virus could therefore be transmitted to humans and could spread. Man could be infected by contact directly with a macaque or by indirect contact.

They nevertheless conclude their work with the need to monitor this virus very closely and to develop tests in a preventive way.

“Given that at least three distinct simian arteriviruses have caused fatal infections in captive macaques after host switching and that humans are immunologically naive to this family of viruses, the development of serological tests for human surveillance should be a priority.”

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