A novel virus that spread through a California New World titi monkey colony in late 2009 has been shown to have also infected a human researcher and a household family member, in a documented example of an adenovirus "jumping" from one species to another and remaining contagious after the jump. Researchers at the UCSF Viral Diagnostics and Discovery Center, led by Dr. Charles Chiu, confirmed that the virus was the same in the New World monkeys and humans, and that the virus is highly unusual in both populations. Their findings appear July 14th in the Open Access journal PLoS Pathogens.
Adenoviruses are known to cause a wide range of clinical illnesses in humans, from cold-like symptoms to diarrhea and pneumonia. Unlike influenza or coronaviruses, adenoviruses had previously not been known to spread from one species to another. "Now adenoviruses can be added to the list of pathogens that have the ability to cross species," said Charles Chiu, MD, PhD, an assistant professor of laboratory medicine at UCSF and director of the viral diagnostics center.
The virus, which researchers have named titi monkey adenovirus (TMAdV), infected titi monkeys in the California National Primate Research Center (CNPRC) in 2009. At the time of the outbreak, a researcher caring for the sick monkeys also developed an upper respiratory infection with fever, as did two members of the researchers' family who had no contact with the monkey colony.
But which direction the virus spread – from monkeys to humans or vice versa – remains a mystery. The viral center is now conducting further studies in both humans and monkeys in Brazil and Africa to determine whether TMAdV is common in wild populations of monkeys, as well as whether it has crossed species in those settings to humans who live nearby.
Source : Public Library of Science