Thursday, August 4, 2022

National Institutes of Health Uncovers Potential New Transmissioin Route of Norovirus... through Saliva

 An interesting announcement from NIH recently.  They have discovered that in laboratory animals (mice) a class of viruses, collectively called enteric viruses, can be passed through saliva.  This is a new discovery as previously this mode of transmission was unknown.

These viruses are well know to cause diarrhea in humans.  Outbreaks of this on cruise ships have been documented in the past.  These viruses can cause serious problems with dehydration as a great deal of fluid is lost when a human is affected with strong bouts of diarrhea.  This can even lead to death in some instances.

This discovery could be incredibly important if it is proven to also happen in humans.  Outbreaks caused by enteric viruses can often quickly pass from one host to another in close confines (like a cruise ship).  If humans also show these viruses in saliva, that means that the can be passed by coughing, sneezing, even talking; which would explain why they tend to spread so rapidly.

Human testing needs to be done to truly be sure, but this is a fascinating development.

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