Novel virus may have jumped from monkeys to humans

A viral outbreak at a California monkey research facility that killed 80% of the titi monkeys (right) it infected also sickened a researcher who worked closely with the animals, scientists reported on Friday at the Infectious Diseases Society of America conference in Vancouver, Canada (see news report in HealthDay).

The virus to blame appears to be a new species of adenovirus, says Charles Chiu, a virologist at the University of California, San Francisco, who led a study assessing the monkey epidemic. It’s also the best evidence to date that adenoviruses can jump species, Chiu says.

“Adenoviruses are very species-specific,” he told Nature today, but his team’s findings suggest that “it’s possible that adenoviruses are kind of an underappreciated agent of infectious disease.”

Read more here.

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