In Saxony-Anhalt, Borna virus has been detected in one person. For a long time, the infectious disease caused by Borna disease virus 1, which is usually fatal, was known only from farm animals such as horses and sheep. Answers to the most important questions
Table of contents
– What is Bornavirus? – Where does BoDV-1 occur? – How is the virus transmitted? – How great is the risk of infection in Germany? – What are the typical symptoms of infection? – Is the Bornavirus dangerous for humans?
For the first time, Borna disease virus has been detected in a human in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. As first reported by MDR on Monday, a 58-year-old woman from the Anhalt-Bitterfeld district has fallen ill. The woman is said to have experienced symptoms since the end of 2020, she is currently being cared for in a nursing home and is unresponsive. Throughout Germany, there had already been individual known infections in humans in the years before.
What is Bornavirus?
Borna disease virus 1, or BoDV-1 for short, has long been known to be a Pathogen of Borna's disease Known. For a long time, this was only known in farm animals such as horses. Known in sheep in Central Europe. In humans, the BoDV-1 virus was first shown to cause severe brain inflammation in humans in 2018.
BoDV-1 is not identical to the closely related bunthornchen-bornavirus (Variegated squirrel bornavirus 1, VSBV-1). The pathogen occurring in variegated squirrels is also transmissible to humans, as has been known for some years. It was first detected in three hobbyists from Saxony-Anhalt, Germany, who were treated in clinics with symptoms of encephalitis from 2011 to 2013 and died.
Where does BoDV-1 occur?
According to the Robert Koch Institute, the natural reservoir of BoDV-1 has been identified as the Central and Southeast widespread field shrew, scientifically Crocidura leucodon, identified. Presumably, the viruses are shed by infected field shrews through saliva, urine, and feces.
In Germany, known endemic areas for BoDV-1 are mainly Bavaria, Thuringia and Saxony-Anhalt as well as adjacent regions of these federal states. Furthermore, the virus has been detected in animals in Switzerland (v.a. Alpenrhein), Liechtenstein and Austria (v.a. Vorarlberg and Upper Austria) have been detected.
How is the virus transmitted?
The exact infection routes of the Borna virus have not yet been clarified beyond doubt by scientists. It is suspected, however, that horses and sheep were contaminated while feeding with the field shrew or its excrement come into contact and thus become infected with the pathogen.
At the Transmission to humans various scenarios are conceivable. Most likely, humans are also infected through contact with the excreta of shrews or direct animal contact.
Also the recording about contaminated food or water as well as the Inhalation of the virus via contaminated dust could lead to infection in humans. It is also conceivable that other animals play a supporting role as a link in the chain of infection – for example Domestic cats, who hunt shrews.
According to the Robert Koch Institute, human-to-human transmission is highly unlikely. Animals other than shrews are also considered non-infectious to animals and humans.
What is the risk of infection in Germany??
Scientists ame that about two to six acute diseases per year in humans caused by the Bornavirus in Germany.
According to the arzteblatt, all age groups and both sexes are affected in the few infections known so far, with the exception of younger children.
Since the risk of infection exists primarily in contact with shrews, it must be amed, based on current knowledge, that such infectious contacts are rare and rather difficult to prevent are.
FAQ Marburg virus in West Africa: How dangerous is the infection??
The life-threatening Marburg virus has broken out in the West African state of Guinea. The highly contagious fever was discovered in Gueckedou Prefecture in a patient who has since died. The most important questions and answers about the virus at a glance
Accordingly, an imaginable increased risk of infection exists during outdoor activities that can lead to contact with shrews or their excretions – i.e. for example Gardening, Work in the Agriculture and forestry or in the Construction as well as the Cleaning From buildings where shrews have been found.
In 2018 and 2019, three people had also contracted Lyme disease via a Organ donation infected with the deadly disease because they had received a kidney or liver, respectively, from an infected person in Bavaria.
What are the typical symptoms of an infection?
The most common symptoms that occur at the onset of the disease include Headache and Fever. In the further course of the disease, affected patients experienced neurological symptoms, such as behavioral abnormalities and speech and gait disorders, and in the further course within days or a few weeks to the Coma.
Is the Bornavirus dangerous for humans?
Borna disease virus 1 can cause severe brain inflammation in humans. The few known cases of disease proceeded for humans Fatal with only one exception. At the current time, there is no specific treatment for bornavirus infection, so treatment consists of supportive measures with intensive medical care.