Scientists at Karolinska Institutet have discovered a previously unknown virus that has been found to affect children. The virus, called human bocavirus, was identified by the team using a new method for virus discovery on respiratory tract samples drawn from children at Karolinska University Hospital in Stockholm. Their findings are published in the latest issue of PNAS (the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA).
Respiratory problems caused by infection of the lower respiratory tract are a leading cause of hospitalisation of children. In about 20 per cent of cases, it is currently impossible to determine the causative agent. The Swedish team detected the bocavirus in 3 percent of cases of serious lower respiratory tract infection.
"Viral infections are one of the worlds most serious health problems," says virus researcher Tobias Allander. "They can cause everything from AIDS to the common cold, and they kill thousands of people a day. Despite this, we do not have a full picture of all the viruses that infect humans."
Tobias Allander | alfa
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