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Ocean virus identified in human blood samples

roups, the researchers found:

  • In blood samples from normal blood donors that had been determined to be safe and were used in blood transfusions, 12 percent showed antibody to Vesivirus, suggesting a previous infection.
  • In donors who had evidence of liver damage based upon a liver enzyme test, and whose blood had been discarded as a result, 21 percent had antibodies to Vesivirus.
  • In blood samples from persons who had been diagnosed with clinical hepatitis, 29 percent had antibodies to Vesivirus.
  • In persons who previously had transfusions or dialysis, and who then developed hepatitis of unknown cause ?meaning it was not caused by known hepatitis types A through E ?47 percent had antibodies to Vesivirus.

In separate tests that looked for actual virus in the blood, rather than antibodies, 5 percent of blood samples from normal donors showed Vesivirus. Among persons with evidence of liver damage, researchers found 11 percent had Vesivirus-contaminated blood.

"This study clearly demonstrates that both Vesivirus and the antibodies against it are fairly common in humans," said Alvin Smith, a professor of veterinary medicine at OSU and one of the world's leading experts on caliciviruses. "Vesivirus is widely distributed in many animal species, but this is a previously unrecognized relationship between Vesivirus and humans."

"This research also shows an increasing prevalence of Vesivirus antibody in persons who have hepatitis of unknown cause," Smith said. "This suggests there is a broader potential for Vesivirus infection and illness in humans than previously recognized."

Previous individual case reports have documented human disease with Vesivirus, said Dr. David O. Matson, a co-author on the study and physician at Eastern Virginia Medical School. "This study adds to our knowledge of the potential for Vesivirus illness in humans, a potential as-yet unstudied by others," Matson said.

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Source:Oregon State University


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