#Immunopathology of #Fatal #Human Variegated #Squirrel #Bornavirus 1 #Encephalitis, #Germany, 2011–2013 (Emerg Infect Dis., abstract)

[Source: US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Emerging Infectious Diseases Journal, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]

Volume 25, Number 6—June 2019 / Synopsis

Immunopathology of Fatal Human Variegated Squirrel Bornavirus 1 Encephalitis, Germany, 2011–2013

Dennis Tappe  , Jonas Schmidt-Chanasit, Jessica Rauch, Petra Allartz, and Christiane Herden

Author affiliations: Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine, Hamburg, Germany (D. Tappe, J. Schmidt-Chanasit, J. Rauch, P. Allartz); German Centre for Infection Research, Hamburg (J. Schmidt-Chanasit); University of Giessen, Giessen, Germany (C. Herden)



Variegated squirrel bornavirus 1 (VSBV-1) is a zoonotic virus that causes fatal encephalitis in humans who are infected after contact with exotic squirrels. We analyzed the brain lesions and the immune responses in all 4 known human cases that showed panencephalitis. Inflammatory infiltrates in areas positive for VSBV-1 RNA and antigen consisted of CD4+ and CD8+ T cells, with perivascular B-cell accumulation. Strong microglial response and bizarre astroglial expansion were present. Areas of malacia contained neutrophils and foamy microglia and macrophages. Immunopathologic examination during infection showed cleavage of caspase 3 in brain cells adjacent to CD8+ cells and widespread p53 expression, hallmarks of apoptosis. Cerebrospinal fluid analyses over time demonstrated increasing protein concentrations and cell counts, paralleled by pathologic lactate elevations in all patients. The most severe cerebrospinal fluid and histologic changes occurred in the patient with the highest viral load, shortest duration of disease, and most medical preconditions.

Keywords: Variegated squirrel bornavirus 1; Encephalitis; Human; Germany; Immunopathology.


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Giuseppe Michieli

I am an Italian blogger, active since 2005 with main focus on emerging infectious diseases such as avian influenza, SARS, antibiotics resistance, and many other global Health issues. Other fields of interest are: climate change, global warming, geological and biological sciences. My activity consists mainly in collection and analysis of news, public services updates, confronting sources and making decision about what are the 'signals' of an impending crisis (an outbreak, for example). When a signal is detected, I follow traces during the entire course of an event. I started in 2005 my blog ''A TIME'S MEMORY'', now with more than 40,000 posts and 3 millions of web interactions. Subsequently I added an Italian Language blog, then discontinued because of very low traffic and interest. I contributed for seven years to a public forum (FluTrackers.com) in the midst of the Ebola epidemic in West Africa in 2014, I left the site to continue alone my data tracking job.