Sosuga: Novel paramyxovirus found in field biologist returning from Africa
A wildlife biologist who became severely sick after returning from a 6-week African field expedition that included handling rodents and bats and collecting their blood and tissues was found to have been infected with a novel paramyxovirus related to rubula-like viruses isolated from fruit bats, according to a separate EID report.
The 25-year-old experienced a fever, malaise, headache, generalized myalgia and arthralgia, neck stiffness, and a sore throat 5 days after returning to the United States. She was hospitalized and during her stay developed a maculopapular rash on her back and arms.
While on her trip to South Sudan and Uganda she had handled animals in traps and mist nets, performed dissections, collected blood and tissues, and visited caves with large populations of bats. She said she sometimes used respiratory protection when working with animals and specimens and wore a respirator while in caves.
After health workers ruled out several suspect conditions such as hematophagocytic syndrome and viral hemorrhagic fever, deep sequencing and metagenomic analysis revealed a novel paramyxovirus related to rubula-like viruses that had been previously isolated from fruit bats. The genus Rubulavirus contains both mumps and parainfluenza viruses.
The authors named the new virus Sosuga (a combination of South Sudan and Uganda) and said it most likely originated in bats; they said efforts to detect it in African bats are under way.