Category Archives: Virology

Koalas have a virus that might protect them from chlamydia

In 2016, the koala was upgraded from ‘Least Concern’ to ‘Vulnerable’ on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The cuddly-looking marsupial is not only threatened by habitat loss, but also by disease – most notably chlamydia infections. Different species … Continue reading

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How concerned should we be about H7N9 flu?

The past few weeks have seen an increasing amount of coverage about an ongoing outbreak of the H7N9 strain of avian influenza in China (often called ‘bird flu’). Reports suggest that in January almost 200 people were confirmed as being … Continue reading

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On the Horizon: Monkeypox

On 8 May 1980, after a global vaccination campaign, the WHO declared that smallpox had been eradicated. Wiping out this viral disease, which has claimed the lives of hundreds of millions of people throughout history, should be considered one of … Continue reading

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Microbe Talk: November 2016

When pathogenic viruses pass from their animal reservoir into humans – known as ‘spillover events’ – the consequences can be severe. For example, it is thought that the West African Ebola outbreak began with an 18-month-old child in Guinea contracting … Continue reading

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On the Horizon: Rift Valley fever

In 1930, a new disease was reported in sheep on a farm near the town of Naivasha, in the central Rift Valley region of Kenya. This disease caused mass spontaneous abortions among pregnant ewes and the death of newborn lambs. … Continue reading

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Microbe Talk: October 2016

The National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories (NEIDL) building in Boston is a high-tech facility for the study of emerging, and re-emerging, microbial diseases of humans and animals. The building, part of Boston University, is equipped up to Biosafety level 4 … Continue reading

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How is the hepatitis C-like hepacivirus of horses transmitted?

In 2011, a new virus was identified in dogs that were suffering from respiratory disease. Analysis revealed that this virus – at the time named canine hepacivirus (CHV) – was the closest known relative of the human virus hepatitis C … Continue reading

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