New SARS-like Virus Infects Both Humans and Animals

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A virus discovered this year is a serious concern to animals and humans alike. According to Wired, a new SARS-like pathogen is not only affecting people, but pigs, bats and possibly more animals, as well. Researchers are using these findings to help track the source of the virus and see how wild animals play a role in its dispersal.

The infection was first found in humans occurring this past summer in Saudi Arabia, when a man came down with severe pneumonia caused by an unknown microbe. After extensive testing, it was revealed the microbe was similar to SARS. So far, there have been nine known infections, including five deaths, as a result of this new virus.

Epidemiologists are working to pinpoint what animal species are at risk of being infected. This information will help control the spread of the disease. The SARS virus of 2003 originated in Chinese horseshoe bats. Researchers have found that bats can be infected by this new virus, but are unsure if that is where the pathogen originated. Currently, officials are looking for infections in a wide range of animals to ensure they keep the virus in check.

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