The New England Journal of Medicine, 2015, Vol.373(2), pp.154-162
Between 2011 and 2013, three breeders of variegated squirrels ( Sciurus variegatoides ) had encephalitis with similar clinical signs and died 2 to 4 months after onset of the clinical symptoms. With the use of a metagenomic approach that incorporated next-generation sequencing and real-time reverse-transcriptase quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR), the presence of a previously unknown bornavirus was detected in a contact squirrel and in brain samples from the three patients. Phylogenetic analyses showed that this virus, tentatively named variegated squirrel 1 bornavirus (VSBV-1), forms a lineage separate from that of the known bornavirus species. (Funded by the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture [Germany] and others.) Three squirrel breeders had encephalitis and died. A careful examination with the use of metagenomic approaches and next-generation sequencing suggested a previously unknown bornavirus, which may have come from the squirrels, as the culprit. Beginning in late 2011, three men in succession (63, 62, and 72 years of age) from the state of Saxony-Anhalt, Germany, had a progressive encephalitis or meningoencephalitis that led to death within 2 to 4 months after the onset of clinical symptoms. The clinical course was characterized by fever, shivers, or both; progressive psychomotor slowing; confusion; unsteady gait; myoclonus, ocular paresis, or both; and finally, coma. All three patients had preexisting medical conditions (hypertension, diabetes, or obesity). In all three patients, the disease was also accompanied, at some point during the course of the illness, by bilateral crural-vein thrombosis, which . . .
Bornaviridae -- Genetics ; Brain -- Pathology ; Encephalitis, Viral -- Virology ; Mononegavirales Infections -- Virology ; Sciuridae -- Virology;