BioQuakes

AP Biology class blog for discussing current research in Biology

New Deadly Virus Discoved in Africa

Recently an article was released summarizing the discovery of a new disease in Africa. In 2009 a fifteen year old boy in a small village in the Democratic Republic of the Congo fell ill. The initial symptoms were malaise and a bloody nose, but quickly the boy developed an acute hemorrhagic fever. Within two days of the showing symptoms the boy died. Approximately eleven days later a thirteen year old girl who went to the same school as Patient One developed similar symptoms, and died three days later. At the local health center which both Patients One and Two visited, a thirty-two year old male nurse began to experience identical symptoms. He was moved to the hospital in Boma, Democratic Republic of the Congo, where the doctors drew blood and began to test for known viruses; they found nothing. However, very recently a research team used deep sequencing to determine the pathogen,which they dubbed “Bas-Congo Virus”, and posted their results in the Public Library of Science Journal. It was discovered that the virus belonged to the Rhabdoviridae family, best known for the Rabies virus. Interestingly enough, though, the Bas-Congo virus only shares 34% of the amino acids found in other Rhabdoviruses, meaning that it is very different. The discovery of this virus may end up being of great importance due to the possibility that the virus may return. In any case, we will have one less pathogen on this planet to identity lest there be another, more deadly, outbreak.

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3 Comments

  1. ilikebioha

    The article states that the disease is spread via human to human contact. This article says it’s very rare for rabies to be spread through non-bite or human to human exposure. http://rabies.emedtv.com/rabies/rabies-transmission.html

    So unless these three people were biting each other, how do the doctors think the rabies spread?

  2. jk1234

    The Democratic Republic of the Congo, along with most other African countries, has had many issues with viruses such as the Ebola outbreak in August that killed around 16 people and has no known vaccine. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-19306437

  3. biorob

    Very interesting article and story. It is scary to think about the viruses we know and the viruses we don’t know. I also found that with these new viruses, it is very important to know how quickly they can spread and how they can be contained:

    http://newswatch.nationalgeographic.com/2012/09/27/how-we-found-the-deadly-bas-congo-virus/

    This article mentions that because we live in an “interconnected world;” a virus can spread around the globe in 24 hours. From studies, the Bas-Congo Virus (BASV) was “completely new.” I am glad to hear that researchers are diligently working to find more about the Bas-Congo Virus.

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