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Novel Virus May Be Cause of Severe Febrile Illness in China

Last Updated: March 17, 2011.

 

Newly identified bunyavirus identified in severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome patients

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Chinese researchers have identified a novel bunyavirus that may be the cause of severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome; their research has been published online March 16 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

THURSDAY, March 17 (HealthDay News) -- Chinese researchers have identified a novel bunyavirus that may be the cause of severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome (SFTS); their research has been published online March 16 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Xue-Jie Yu, M.D., Ph.D., of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Beijing, and colleagues analyzed blood samples from SFTS patients from six Chinese provinces to isolate the pathogen responsible for the disease.

The researchers isolated a novel virus, which RNA sequencing revealed to be a newly identified member of the phlebovirus genus in the Bunyaviridae family. The virus was confirmed in 171 SFTS patients.

"Our finding that SFTS bunyavirus is the probable cause of a previously unknown severe febrile disease is one of the fruits of heightened surveillance of infectious diseases in China. More research is needed to determine the extent to which this disease occurs in regions outside its area of identification," the authors write.

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