[IWAR] BIO monkey virus to humans

From: 7Pillars Partners (partnersat_private)
Date: Tue Mar 31 1998 - 09:09:14 PST

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    Monkey Virus Transmitted To Humans
    NEW YORK (Reuters) -- Retroviruses such as HIV are thought to have originated
    in monkeys and later jumped the
    "species barrier" to infect humans. Now scientists reporting in the journal
    Nature Medicine say another monkey-borne
    retrovirus, known as simian foamy virus (SFV), has been found in the
    bloodstreams of four animal researchers. 
    "Our findings represent the first known human infections with baboon SFV and
    confirms human susceptibility," say
    researchers led by scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
    (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia. They stress that
    all human foamy virus infections have so far remained asymptomatic, and have
    not been transmitted between humans through
    either casual or sexual contact. 
    After it became clear that HIV and another retrovirus, called human T cell
    leukemia/lymphotropic virus (HTLV), probably
    originated in primates before infecting humans, scientists have been on the
    alert for similar transmissions. 
    The CDC-led team tested blood samples of 2,018 researchers at 13 US and
    Canadian scientific institutions, most of whom
    come into close regular contact with primates of various species for years at a
    time. A subset of 231 of these workers were
    tested for infection with SFV. 
    Four (1.8%) of these workers were found to carry the SFV virus, although they
    showed no signs of disease. "All reported a
    history of injuries," the researchers say, including serious bites from
    chimpanzees, baboons or African green monkeys, some
    occurring as far back as 20 years ago. 
    However, the researchers report no subsequent (HIV-like) human-to-human
    transmission of these viruses. They believe the
    virus has so far remained unable to fully "adapt to the human host and become
    more transmissible." Although SFV is readily
    found in monkey saliva, the saliva of each of the four infected humans has so
    far tested negative for the organism. And all
    blood samples from the spouses of the infected workers "were negative (for
    SFV)... despite documented (sexual and casual)
    exposure to infected partners for 9, 15 and 19 years," according to the study
    Still, the CDC-led team believe there is a potential for SFV transmission (and
    further adaptation), especially through donated
    blood. They say they are "counseling all SFV-infected persons to refrain from
    blood and tissue donation until risks of
    transmission by blood are defined." 
    In an accompanying editorial, Dr. Robin Weiss of the Institute of Cancer
    Research in London, England, points out that
    animal-to-human transplantation (xenotransplantation) may also provide
    opportunities of interspecies viral transmissions. "It is
    the fear of triggering a new human epidemic... that has led to a call for a
    moratorium on xenotransplantation of animal tissues
    into humans," Weiss said. SOURCE: Nature Medicine (1998;4(4):391-392, 403-407)

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