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Little-known African virus that affects horses can also infect humans – study

A little-known Old World virus in southern African capable of causing serious illness in horses appears to be the cause of neurological disease in some people, researchers report.

Isabel Fourie and her fellow researchers, writing in the journal PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, acknowledge that the Middelburg virus is not well known.

New World alphaviruses are associated with severe neurological disease in humans and horses in the Americas, with a high mortality rate. Middelburg virus is an Old World alphavirus previously associated with neurological disease and fatalities in horses and wildlife in southern Africa, but not yet linked to disease in humans.

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