New Virus Sickens Man in Peru

Global Virus variant and mutating cells concept or new coronavirus b.1.1.7 variants outbreak and covid-19 viral cell mutation as an influenza background with dangerous flu strain as a 3D render.

( – A new update in the case of a Peruvian man who fell sick with a mysterious illness has experts questioning whether health professionals are doing enough to detect and identify novel viruses. Doctors initially thought the 20-year-old construction worker had a common tropical disease. However, the results of a September study refute these claims and shed new light on the root cause.

According to reports, the unidentified young man arrived at a healthcare facility in Chanchamayo, Peru, in 2019. At the time, he was suffering from a host of flu-like symptoms, including widespread pain, fever, and severe headaches. Doctors assumed he had dengue fever or malaria, both of which often present in a similar manner.

The man’s care team took a blood sample and sent it off for testing, hoping to confirm a diagnosis. It eventually ended up at the US Naval Medical Research Unit in Lima, which estimated the pathogen contained within was the Candiru phlebovirus. But they also found it slightly strange; the virus’ characteristics didn’t quite seem to be an exact match.

Further laboratory analysis allowed scientists to confirm the exact nature of the virus. They were able to identify features of Candiru phlebovirus but also noted unusual changes not necessarily explained by ordinary mutation. They concluded that what they were looking at was a never-before-seen virus created when a genetic code from the Candiru virus was mixed with a genetic code from a novel variant of ECHV.

The idea that viruses can mix or “recombine” isn’t new; the fact that they can swap genetic material when infecting the same host is well-established. Entering the same cell at the same time raises the risk for recombination, meaning that the risk is higher when viruses carry similar symptoms or infect the same areas of the body.

The findings of this recent study highlight two important concerns. First, it reinforces a previous finding that viruses falling under the genus Phlebovirus have a high propensity for recombination and viral diversity. Patients with high fevers and flu-like symptoms may need closer monitoring, especially in Peru. Experts are also calling for increased investigations to determine just how widespread the virus truly is.

Whether or not the young man ever recovered from his illness remains unclear. To date, there have been no confirmed cases of this novel virus detected within the United States or even outside of Peru. Individuals experiencing flu-like symptoms, such as fever, headache, or fatigue, should seek medical attention.

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