Borna Virus

Dennis Grant dgrant at
Sat May 18 20:58:52 EST 1996

QUESTION: In terms of epidemiological findings, what would be an
expected finding regarding persons being antibody or RNA positive for
viruses that cause illness in animals but not humans.

REASON FOR QUESTION: There is a lot of research underway on the Borna
virus and its possible role in mental illness. Recent studies in Japan
found BDV RNA in 4.2-5% of blood donors in two separate cities. They
also found BDV RNA in 29.8% of healthy horses (horses being suspectible
to Borna disease). In the US, up to 18% of a sample of horses was found
to have antibodies to BDV. There was also a finding from Israel of
humans becoming antibody positive for BDV after working with Ostrichs
which harbored the virus. Apparently there are no reports of Borna
disease in humans per se as it occurs in animals, but because it has
specific affinity for the limbic system, people are looking at its
possible role in mental illness. Thus the question, i.e., considering
the fact that humans have a lot of exposure to animals, would it be
an expected finding to have antibodies or RNA present in the system
simply because animals viruses are foreign proteins. IE would most
of us carry antibodies to animal viruses that would not cause disease
within us?

Dennis Grant
5307285 at

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