Fear of new AIDS-like virus through bushmeat
Friday 28 May 2004
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AFRICA: Fear of new AIDS-like virus through bushmeat

JOHANNESBURG, 31 March (PLUSNEWS) - People hunting monkeys and apes for food and trade in central Africa are being infected with viruses that are sparking fears of a future AIDS-like epidemic, researchers have said.

Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore traced the transmission of the infection, simian foamy virus (SFV) to 1 percent of 1,099 people from nine rural villages in Cameroon.

Dr Nathan Wolfe of Johns Hopkins, noted that HIV, SARS, Ebola and bird 'flu were among the diseases that had spread as a result of cross-species transmission.

Wolfe was quoted by Reuters as saying: "It is in all our interests to put into place economic alternatives to help people move away from hunting and eating these animals ... such development efforts will reduce the ongoing cross-species transmission of retroviruses and other pathogens that could spark future epidemics similar to HIV."

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