Health authorities in Bavaria, Germany, are investigating the case of a man infected with the rare and highly lethal Borna virus (BoDV-1). The notification was made last Tuesday (21) by the district of Weissenburg-Gunzenhausen, where the patient lives.
BoDV-1 causes Borna’s disease, described in Encyclopedia of NeuroscienceWhich, although very rare, can cause “persistent infection of the central and peripheral nervous systems.”
According to the Bavarian State Office for Food Health and Safety, of the 50 known cases of the disease, only four victims survived – however, with serious and long-lasting consequences.
The Robert Koch Institute, an authority on infection science, reports that the virus is commonly found in white-toothed shrews and is transmitted through contact with the animal or its secretions. However, it is more common for horses, sheep and other mammals to be affected in Central Europe.
How humans become infected with Bornavirus remains a mystery. Among the possible routes of infection, the German institute mentions contaminated food or water and even dust.
“The virus can remain infectious in the environment for a period of time, so direct contact with animals may not necessarily be mandatory for infection,” the agency says.
There are no details yet about the investigation into how the man contracted the virus. The authorities are tracking his potential communications and activities.
The virus’s name refers to the German city of Borna, where it was first reported in the late 19th century, when an outbreak affected horses.
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