CDC Reports New Bat Flu Virus, Compatible With Human Flu Viruses

Posted on February 28, 2012

The CDC reports that a new bat flu virus has been discovered. The new influenza A virus was discovered in fruit bats in Guatemala. The CDC says the bat flu does not appear to present a current threat to humans, but should be studied as a potential source for human influenza in the future. Preliminary CDC research on the new virus suggests that its genes are compatible with human influenza viruses. The study was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Dr. Suxiang Tong, team lead of the Pathogen Discovery Program in CDC's Division of Viral Diseases and lead author of the study, says, "This is the first time an influenza virus has been identified in bats, but in its current form the virus is not a human health issue. he study is important because the research has identified a new animal species that may act as a source of flu viruses."

Dr. Ruben Donis, chief of the Molecular Virology and Vaccines Branch in CDC's Influenza Division and a study co´┐Żauthor, says, "Fortunately, initial laboratory testing suggests the new virus would need to undergo significant changes to become capable of infecting and spreading easily among humans. A different animal - such as a pig, horse or dog - would need to be capable of being infected with both this new bat influenza virus and human influenza viruses for reassortment to occur."

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