Fever with thrombocytopenia associated with a novel bunyavirus in China

January 01, 0001

Fever with thrombocytopenia associated with a novel bunyavirus in China

Heightened surveillance of acute febrile illness in China since 2009 has led to the identification of a severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome (SFTS) with an unknown cause. These Chinese authors obtained blood samples from patients with the case definition of SFTS in six provinces in China. The blood samples were used to isolate the causal pathogen by inoculation of cell culture and for detection of viral RNA on polymerase-chain- reaction assay. The pathogen was characterized on electron microscopy and nucleic acid sequencing. They used enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, indirect immunofluorescence assay, and neutralization testing to analyze the level of virus-specific antibody in patients' serum samples.

They report: "We isolated a novel virus, designated SFTS bunyavirus, from patients who presented with fever, thrombocytopenia, leukocytopenia, and multiorgan dysfunction. RNA sequence analysis revealed that the virus was a newly identified member of the genus phlebovirus in the Bunyaviridae family. Electron-microscopical examination revealed virions with the morphologic characteristics of a bunyavirus. The presence of the virus was confirmed in 171 patients with SFTS from six provinces by detection of viral RNA, specific antibodies to the virus in blood, or both. Serologic assays showed a virus- specific immune response in all 35 pairs of serum samples collected from patients during the acute and convalescent phases of the illness."

The authors concluded: "A novel phlebovirus was identified in patients with a life-threatening illness associated with fever and thrombocytopenia in China."

Stay tuned on this one, we are likely to hear more.

For the full abstract, click here.

N Engl J Med Published online 16 March 2011
© 2011 to the Massachusetts Medical Society
Fever with Thrombocytopenia Associated with a Novel Bunyavirus in China. Xue-Jie Yu, Mi-Fang Liang, Shou-Yin Zhang, et al. Correspondence to Dr. Yu Wang: [email protected]

Category: B. Blood/Immune Mechanisms. A. General/Unspecified. Keywords: febrile illness, infectious disease, severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome, SFTS, phlebovirus, bunyavirus, epidemiological study, journal watch.
Synopsis edited by Dr Linda French, Toledo, Ohio. Posted on Global Family Doctor 5 April 2011

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