Study finds chimps can catch human pneumonia

24th January 2008, Comments 0 comments

German scientists say they found the viruses in the monkeys studied.

Berlin (dpa) - Scientists in Germany say they have proved for the first time that humans can pass on pneumonia to chimpanzees, the animals widely believed to have infected humans with the AIDS virus.

A study published Thursday found respiratory syncytal virus and metapneumovirus in tissue samples from chimpanzees that had died in Tai National Park in the Ivory Coast.

The scientists from the Robert Koch (RKI) infectious diseases institute in Berlin and the Max Planck Institute of Evolutionary Anthropology said the virus types were contemporary mutations that are common right around the world.

This proved the chimp population had caught the viruses recently from people.

Human metapneumovirus and respiratory syncytal virus both cause colds, and sometimes life-threatening severe upper respiratory infection and pneumonia in people.

The findings are being published in the journal Current Biology.

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