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techkenyot.com August 20, 2018


Animal Keystone virus makes jump to humans in Florida

25 June 2018, 12:56 | Silvia Roy

Animal Keystone virus makes jump to humans in Florida

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The Keystone virus, named after the northwestern Hillsborough County area where it was initially identified in 1964, has been found in animal populations along coastal regions stretching from Texas to the Chesapeake Bay.

A teenager in Florida has become the first person known to be infected with mosquito-borne Keystone virus but is unlikely to be the only case, according to researchers.

He published a report on the virus on June 9 in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases.

Unidentified teen went to a walk-in clinic exhibiting a fever and rash.

But unexpectedly, researchers from the University of Florida (UF) found the Keystone virus in samples from the patient. And no live virus had been found in humans until now. The disease comes from a virus family that's known to cause encephalitis, or brain inflammation.

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The virus is carried by a relative of the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes that carry Zika.

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Coauthor Glenn Morris, the director of the Emerging Pathogens Institute at the University of Florida, says it's likely a fairly common, and in many cases harmless, pathogen among people.

The boy said that he'd been bitten by numerous mosquitoes while attending band camp. He further explained, "We screened this with all the standard approaches and it literally took a year and a half of sort of dogged laboratory work to figure out what this virus was". It has been found in animals along US coastal regions from Texas to the Chesapeake Bay.

A mosquito-borne illness that could seriously affect the brain and was previously thought to be transmitted only to animals has been found in a human for the first time, Fox 13 News reported.

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The teen was expressing only mild symptoms and was not reporting any symptoms of encephalitis, but after conducting viral cultures, researchers discovered that the boy had contracted the Keystone virus. A study from the 1970s revealed that around 20 percent of blood samples from people in the Tampa Bay region had antibodies against the virus.

The Keystone virus can infect brain cells, and may pose a risk for brain infection. But that didn't happen to they boy in the case report.

"We couldn't identity what was going on", Morris said. But he came up negative for Zika and other related viruses.

Plus, they wrote, this finding underscores the fact that there are all kinds of diseases circulating out there that could one day infect humans.

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