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Home » Virus Warning As ‘rare’ Fatal Disease That Triggers Meningitis Found In Europe

Virus Warning As ‘rare’ Fatal Disease That Triggers Meningitis Found In Europe

Experts have warned of a potential new outbreak of a “very rare” disease which is usually fatal and could cause inflammation in the brain. The Express reports that health authorities in Germany have issued a horrifying warning as a new case of a very rare disease known as Borna disease has been detected.

Also known as sad horse disease, this fatal illness comes from the Borna Disease Virus (BDV) and is an infectious neurological syndrome affecting warm-blooded animals. The disease is very rare, only previously detected in humans a handful of times after it originated in Germany in the late 1800s.

Local authorities in the country announced on Tuesday a person from the district of Muhldorf am Inn was infected. In the Bavarian district, two other cases of the virus affecting humans have been reported over the past three years.

BDV can cause an inflammation of the brain after infection, leading to death in almost all cases, while those who did survive the virus were left to suffer long-term damage. On average, Germany reports about two infections every year, although experts assume that the number of unreported cases in the country could go as high as up to six cases per year.

Borna disease viruses, which come in type one and type two variants, can affect a wide host of mammals aside from humans. BDV-1 and BDV-2 have been previously detected in horses, cattle, sheep, dogs and foxes.

Patients infected with Borna disease could end up with meningitis, which is an infection of the protective membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord. According to the NHS, Meningitis “can affect anyone, but is most common in babies, young children, teenagers and young adults”.

Meningitis can be very serious if not treated quickly. It can cause life-threatening blood poisoning (septicaemia) and result in permanent damage to the brain or nerves.

Fortunately, a number of vaccinations are available which can offer some protection against the brain disease. Scientists believe the transmission of Borna viruses occurs through the intranasal exposure of contaminated saliva or nasal secretions.

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