Scientists have discovered another Ebola-related virus in southwestern China, which can potentially infect and harm animals as well as humans.
The new virus, called the Mengla virus, is found in a fruit bat caught in Mengla county in the Yunnan province.
Much like the Marburg and Ebola viruses, contracting Mengla can be fatal to humans, causing internal bleeding, haemorrhagic fever and organ failures.
The team of Chinese and Singaorean scientists was led by Shi Zhengli from the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Virology in Wuhan and Wang Linfa from Duke-NUS Medical School in Singapore, claimed that the virus had significant similarities with Ebola and Marburg.
A Daily Times report quoted author Wang Linfa,
"Studying the genetic diversity and geographic distribution of bat-borne filoviruses is very important for risk assessment and outbreak prevention, as this type of infectious disease can affect the general public without warning and with devastating consequences." -
The virus has only been found in Rousettus bats in China. Further tests are awaited to be conducted to find its traces elsewhere, map out high-risk areas, and the possibility of it spreading to other species except monkeys, hamsters, dogs and humans.
The study has been published in the online journal Nature Microbiology.
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