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Trojan Horse Viruses, the Roundworm Disease, and the New Ebola Species

Scientific Research News Clip 1

Clustered viruses in vesicles

Viruses Do Not Work Alone

The new scientific research in Cell Host & Microbe reported August 8 that some rotaviruses and noroviruses will clump together in vesicles to invade a body and cause more severe infections.

Norovirus cluster vesicles were first identified in patients’ stool samples. These vesicles are "everywhere" according to Nihal Altan-Bonnet, Cell biologist of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md.

In 2015, Altan-Bonnet and her team discovered clustered polioviruses in a petri dish. Also rotavirus and norovirus clump together during transmission, which was reported in Altan-Bonnet's new study.

Altan-Bonnet and the researchers found that the vesicles involving rotavirus like a Trojan horse caused severe infections in live mice. It took the mice two to four days longer to get rid of such severe infections than that caused by single virus particles.

This discovery of vesicle transmission gives a new perspective to prevent the viruses such as rotavirus and norovirus and seek better treatments. That is to target the membranes that contain the virus clusters.

Parasitic Roundworm Disease

Parasitic roundworm

Also known as rat lungworm disease or angiostrongyliasis, this disease is mainly caused by inadvertently eating raw creatures like slugs or snails that pick up the larvae of the parasitic roundworm Angiostrongylus cantonensis.

The larvae first hatch in the lungs of rats and then come out of the rats in their feces. If some creatures like snails or slugs pick up the larvae and are eaten raw or undercooked by humans, the larvae are then passed along to humans. Other transmission ways include contaminated water and vegetables.

The infected people tend to be with a low-grade fever, headache, stiff neck, nausea or vomiting, and complain of weakness, tingling or painful feelings in the skin. And in the severe cases, they suffer permanent brain and nerve damage or even death — symptoms of eosinophilic  meningitis — after the larvae are carried to the central nervous system by the blood.

However, the infection with this parasite usually doesn't need a treatment because the parasite dies over time. The symptoms of this disease disappear in several weeks or months as a result of human body's immune system responding to the dying parasites. Even patients who have developed eosinophilic meningitis don’t need antibiotics.

To keep from getting this disease, people need to wash fresh produce thoroughly; do not eat raw or undercooked snails or slugs, even some frogs, crabs, freshwater shrimps and prawns, as well as uncooked vegetables; avoid traveling to the epidemic area of this roundworm disease.

A New Species of Ebola Virus

A new species of Ebola virus found in free-tailed bats

Ebola virus disease has a high risk of death. At its early stage, typical symptoms include a fever, sore throat, muscular pains and headaches, usually followed by vomiting, diarrhea and rash.

The sixth new strain of Ebola virus has been found in two bat species in the Bombali district of Sierra Leone, the Angolan free-tailed bat and the Little free-tailed bat.

This Bombali virus is "definitely related to other Ebola viruses" but "quite different" according to Tracey Goldstein, a pathologist at University of California, Davis.

Goldstein together with her virus-hunting PREDICT project colleagues said that currently there's no evidence this Bombali virus can cause disease in people, though it can infect human cells.

People in the Bombali region are now being educated by PREDICT and its partners to stay away from bats but needn't worry so far.

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Trojan Horse Viruses, the Roundworm Disease, and the New Ebola Species
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