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Video: Borna Disease Responsible For Eight Deaths In Germany
According to a recent study, published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases, all eight people who died in southern Germany between 1999 and 2019, who were thought to have unexplained encephalitis, had been infected with the disease virus. from Borna. The disease, named after the city of Borna in Saxony, has long been observed only in Europe, but infections have also been described in the United States, Japan, Iran and Israel.
Borna disease responsible for eight deaths in Germany
The National Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health Security described Borna's disease as "a non-purulent meningoencephalomyelitis" which mainly affects horses and sheep. The virus is transmitted to animals by the two-colored white-toothed shrew. The infection is associated with neurological and behavioral disorders. This is an inflammation of the brain and meninges, which explains the loss of balance and memory in infected people. Being infected, one also suffers from fever, convulsions and loss of consciousness.
Borna's disease virus has recently been characterized as RNA negative viruses, but it has been found to be extremely stable over time. The virus was initially detected in horses and sheep. But other warm-blooded animal species can also be naturally infected. Experimental disease is possible even in primates. The first markers of Borna's disease virus (BDV) have been detected in humans over the past decade. Furthermore, it turned out that there were many similarities between the neurological and emotional disorders observed in animals infected with BDV and humans infected with the virus.
To make the diagnosis, the researchers analyzed and studied the cases of more than 50 people who developed symptoms of encephalitis in the past 20 years. The analyzes were then compared with those of the brain tissue that belonged to the eight deceased patients.
According to the researchers, the shrew would not be able to transmit the virus to humans. Whether the first clues identify connections between patients and animals, a rural life or an outdoor activity, the mystery still remains as to how humans can be contaminated.
How to recognize Borna disease?
If one is infected with the Borna virus, the first symptoms to watch out for are severe headache, fever and general confusion. These symptoms progress to signs of a brain disease: hyperexcitability, aggressiveness, lethargy, drowsiness, stupor. The patient ends up having convulsions, memory loss and progressive loss of consciousness.
* Find out more about the study by clicking on this link.