Four Bits: UF news briefs

Camel with equine flu could strengthen cross-species transmission link

UF researchers discovered that a camel contracted an equine virus. The team found equine influenza in a camel — the first known case of its kind. The researchers found that a nasal sample of the virus from a camel matched the virus found in Mongolian horses. The study points to “the cross-species jumps of influenza,” said Gregory C. Gray, who directs UF’s One Health Center of Excellence for Research and Training  in the university’s Emerging Pathogens Institute. Camels have been known to transmit a lethal respiratory virus to humans in the Middle East. The findings do not present any risks right now, but they do suggest camels as a stronger link in the transmission of diseases passed from animals to humans.

Study: World Cup can still be a sociological win for Brazil

In light of recent criticism of Brazil’s financial investment in World Cup festivities, a study from UF’s department of tourism and recreation suggests the country could still meet its goal of bringing positive change to situations such as homelessness. Heather Gibson, a UF tourism, recreation and sport management professor, said the key is to capitalize on camaraderie and momentum generated by the tournament to initiate social programs.

Deforestation prevention methods present drawbacks, UF researchers say

Yearly deforestation rates can reach upwards of 18 million acres, but some UF researchers have found that each method of curtailing deforestation can present negative consequences. The authors of the study concluded that local needs for timber and other related products should be considered along with financial benefits from the land’s resources and the ecosystem’s structure. If people “pay attention to ecosystem structure, composition and dynamics,” a UF new release about the study notes, it is possible to “minimize the environmental impacts.”

Study: Recent infections can trigger dormant viruses

A UF study found that recent infections a person contracts can trigger the release of viruses that have been lying dormant, sometimes for years. Rolf Renne, the study’s co-author, used herpes as an example. “Probably 95 percent of us have been infected with at least one herpes virus, but many people never have a problem with it,” said Renne, a professor of molecular genetics and microbiology in the UF College of Medicine. When the immune system with a dormant herpes strain reacted to a new infection, it released a protein that kickstarted the virus’ replication.

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