Novel zoonotic Borna disease virus associated with severe disease in breeders of variegated squirrels in Germany – first update, 5 May 2015

Risk assessment
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European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. Novel zoonotic Borna disease virus associated with severe disease in breeders of variegated squirrels in Germany – first update, 5 May 2015. Stockholm: ECDC; 2015.

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​A recently identified cluster of acute fatal encephalitis in three breeders of variegated squirrels in the German state of Saxony-Anhalt is an unusual public health event with a potentially high impact on the small group of people who are exposed to this particular squirrel species. Further investigations are ongoing to describe these cases. The role of a newly identified Borna disease virus isolate in the aetiology of these cases remains to be confirmed.

Further work is required to identify natural hosts, reservoirs, vectors, transmission routes, and distribution.