DEATH LURKS FROM THE TROPICAL RAIN FOREST: BAS-CONGO VIRUS

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SOMEWHERE BETWEEN EBOLA AND RABIES: ENOUGH CRUEL AND VERY DANGEROUS

NEW AFRICAN PLAGUE?

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“We torture and kill two billion sentient living beings every week. 10,000 entire species are wiped out every year because of the actions of one, and we are now facing the sixth mass extinction in cosmological history. If any other organism did this, a biologist would consider them a virus.”

-Phillip Wollen

The humans are not afraid so much of poverty,terrorism and natural disasters as they are afraid of invisible  enemies,  from unknown viruses and mysterious diseases. The fear from undefined phenomena  is written in our DNA and it seems that mankind has never been more sensible to this asymmetric war with nature as it is now. The global population is the same target. No matter where do you live, what do you have or who are you, the secret bug will try to attack you and if it is possible, to defeat you. They need hosts, that is all what they are interested in. As long as you are a useful host, they will stay. At the moment of broken hospitality, you are dead and virus is somewhere else. Survival machine without mistake.

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Back in 2009, two teenagers were killed by unknown virus, in  Mangala, Congo. The beautiful wildness of this country hides thousands of still undiscovered species but also the full potential for micro universe. The microbes which are jumping from one host to another is almost like a medical folklore of African continent.  Many viruses are known to experts but some are a big mystery and the consequences they cause will bring the international epidemic concern. The 15-year-old boy and the 13-year-old girl were eliminated by this rapid killer within three days. The first information about this pathogen comes from Bas-Congo region, so the name of the virus is not surprising. Virologists tried to find out how it is possible that the new virus is killing so fast when its nature is mixed. What does it exactly mean? It has attributes of other hemorrhagic fevers:Ebola, Marburg and Lasa but on the other way, it has destructive appetite of one Rabies. Sounds like a melting pot for bugs so the best menu is delivered to the  scared African people.

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The two mentioned children died but the nurse who was helping them was also infected but somehow survived the final crush. That was the another big surprise for scientists who have tried to make correlations between virus steps. The first challenge is to discover the source of the virus, the reservoir and the vectors. In this case, The Bas-Congo virus is the enigma. There are those experts who believe that insects could be responsible for the transfer of virus but that is just unproved theory.

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Metabiota is definitely the first response to the epidemiological risks worldwide. That is a company which is located in San Francisco and which gathers emerging explorers and virus hunters. Those people are not only professionals, but very courageous individuals who deal with the arrows from the Nature. One of them is famous Nathan Wolfe, the National Geographic Number One Virus Hunter.  This company together with University of San Francisco has made progress regarding the detecting this virus and giving it the right name, using the special and expensive methods of collecting information directly from the virus genome:“The viral genome is so distinct from any other known virus that it would likely not have been detectable by any other method.These findings, along with further studies and follow-up investigation at the site of the initial outbreak, provided greater certainty that BASV was indeed responsible for the outbreak.While the symptoms associated with BASV are similar to those caused by well-known viruses such as Ebola, members of BASV’s viral family, rhabdoviruses, have not previously been known to cause hemorrhagic fever in humans. Rabies, for instance, can be a deadly disease if untreated, but the course and symptoms of rabies in humans are nothing like the rapid and deadly onset of BASV. There is some precedent, however, for hemorrhagic disease caused by rhabdoviruses in the animal kingdom – some other rhabdoviruses that affect fish are known to cause hemorrhagic septicemia, acute bleeding and death.”

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This novel rhabdovirus is causing severe infections expressed into the following typical hemorrhagic fever symptoms: fever, malaise, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, fatigue and unstoppable headache. Bleeding from nose and mouth often reminds us on Ebola symptoms, especially when it comes to the hematemesis and final end of the affected patient.

Jonna Mazet,global director from the  USAID’s Predict Program has said in 2014 that they have detected over 800 viruses globally in last five years but that 540 of them have never seen before. How is that happening? The potential explanation could be found in tropical rain forests and the fact that progressive industrialization destroy the forest treasures of Africa, Asia and South America. Deforestation sets free millions of unveiled rain forests bugs and send them to bite civilization in the revenge manner of nature. Based on this, the Predict Program tries to prevent the emerging diseases and to stop virus on its early stages. The expeditions of scientists are going to Congo Basen the second rain forest zone after Amazon and collect samples from animals and local tribes.They are trying to catch the virus in the moment of jumping from one to another species and to limit its killing possibilities. They are not only located in Africa, virologists are visiting also the Southeast Asia and South America.

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 The Bas-Congo virus hasn’t made global damage yet while it was caught at the beginning and the circle of victims was closed for spreading the pandemics. This doesn’t mean that BASV is defeated and shut down in some cave. This only means that BASV is controlled and categorized. In the future, the microbiological definition which is set up by scientists can reduce the time of response on possible infection collapse, caused by this angry Congo pathogen.

Many writers underline the sensitivity of Africa for producing unknown germs. The fact is that African nature is rich and still unknown to the science. As long as we do not hesitate to rape wildlife, the Earth wont hesitate to defend itself by sending the invisible army. It is not about the science capacity but about the capacity of humans to respect other living beings and natural resources, without destroying them in one eye blink.Otherwise, we will welcome soon many new and aggressive micro species, bloodthirsty and cruel.

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