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Ocean virus identified in human blood

Posted by tumicrobiology on March 24, 2006

Scientists say a virus of ocean origin that can cause a range of diseases in several animal species has been found in human blood samples.
The virus, or antibodies to it, was found most often in the blood of individuals with liver damage, or hepatitis of unknown cause related to blood exposure.
Scientists from Oregon State University, Eastern Virginia Medical School, and AVI BioPharma say the association between viral infection and the presence of a disease of unknown cause does not prove cause and effect. But they say the data are intriguing and raise important new questions.
The researchers say further study is needed to establish proof that infection with the virus in humans is causing liver damage or some other problems, which may include encephalitis and spontaneous abortion.
The viral group being studied is the genus Vesivirus, one of four genera in the Caliciviridae viral family. Some caliciviruses cause disease in humans, such as the Norwalk virus that causes gastroenteritis. Other caliciviruses cause a wide range of disease in other animal species.
The study appears in the online edition of the Journal of Medical Virology.
Copyright 2006 by United Press International.

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