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Discovery of a hepatitis C-related virus in bats may reduce outbreaks in humans
Date:7/1/2010

h including rabies, ebola, Marburg, hendra, nipah, and SARS viruses. Opportunities for transmission to humans are particularly prominent in countries like Bangladesh, where people live in close association with bats.

"This discovery underscores the importance of international programs focused on microbe hunting in hot spots of emerging infectious diseases," said Dr. Ian Lipkin, John Snow Professor of Epidemiology and director of the CII. "Finding this novel flavivirus in bats significantly broadens the host range of GB-like agents and may provide insights into the origins of hepatitis C," added Thomas Briese, PhD, lead molecular biologist on the team and Mailman School associate professor and associate director of CII.

"The Indian subcontinent and South Asia are areas where we are ardently working to identify the next possible pandemic disease," stated Peter Daszak, President of Wildlife Trust. "Identification of the natural reservoir of a virus, even if it may not directly infect people, is critical to surveillance and reducing the risk of outbreaks of infectious disease," noted Jonathan Epstein, associate vice president of Conservation Medicine Programs at Wildlife Trust.


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Contact: Stephanie Berger
sb2247@columbia.edu
212-305-4372
Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health
Source:Eurekalert

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