Sorry for the long post. Translation by Google and me. Mistakes and bold/italics by me. http://www.zeit.de/news/2018-03/27/...er-menschen-doch-gefaehrlich-180327-99-652639 Berlin/Greifswald-Riems (dpa) Three patients in Germany have died as a result of a viral disease previously only seen in animals. Those affected had encephalitis, which was most likely triggered by the classic borna disease virus, said the head of the Institute for Viral Diagnostics at the Friedrich Loeffler Institute (FLI) in Greifswald, Martin Beer. The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) in Berlin and the scientists assume that it is the first confirmed borna disease virus evidence in humans at all. The RKI recently reported the cases. Two of the patients were infected with high probability via transplanted organs of the same donor. "We assume a very rare individual case in this event," Beer said. The third death is not related to transplantation, but details were not disclosed. Researchers from FLI, the federal research institute for animal health, were called in by the end of 2016 from the university clinics where the patients had been treated. The cause of the brain inflammations was not to be found with the standard diagnostics. The FLI was already involved in 2015 in the clarification of three unclear cases of brain inflammation: In deceased breeders of variegated squirrels in Saxony-Anhalt, they found a new borna disease virus (variegated squirrel borna virus, VSBV-1). This time, the researchers discovered, thanks to special analysis methods, the classic Borna disease virus (BoDV-1) known from horses and sheep. "So far, brain inflammation has not been sought for this [virus] because there was no evidence that it could play a role," said Beer. A consequence of the new findings for human medicine is that in unexplained cases of brain inflammation borna disease virus should be tested for- in addition to other possible pathogens. The aim now is to develop new detection methods so that Bornavirus infections can be detected at an early or chronic stage, said Hartmut Hengel, President of the Society for Virology and virologist at the University of Freiburg. Such an infection would have been present in the case of the organ donor, so that the person appeared healthy and organs could be transplanted. A third organ recipient of the same donor survived the infection. However, Hengel currently does not think that further arrangements to safeguard organ donation are possible - nor is it necessary given the apparent rarity of the virus. "We still do not have the tools to test organ donors," the professor said. It is also unclear whether pre-existing conditions play a role in the now documented cases. In horses, bornavirus infections have been known for more than 100 years - with possible brain inflammation. Diseased animals show movement disorders, behavioral problems and often die as a result. How the animals are infected, is not finally clear. It is known, however, that in Germany the pathogen multiplies in bicolored shrew and can be excreted by them. The pathway to infection in humans is unclear. Generally, according to RKI, the virus rarely occurs; in demarcated areas in eastern and southern Germany as well as parts of Austria, Liechtenstein and Switzerland. The virus is named after the city of Borna near Leipzig. There has been a scientific controversy surrounding the virus and its dangers in the past. Scientists at the RKI had been researching possible human bornavirus infections since the early 1990s - but the work was discontinued in 2005. Despite years of effort, they have found no reliable indication of a danger to humans, it was then. Suspected Bornavirus detection in human samples was later attributed to contamination in the laboratory. Much attention was also given to the topic because some of the scientists described Bornavirus as a factor in the development of diseases such as depression and schizophrenia. However, Martin Beer from the FLI emphasized: "One has to separate the current individual cases clearly from the discussions of the past 20 years and the investigations at that time. „We now see a very clear symptom, we have deaths and in the samples of the deceased patients can be detected very large amounts of virus genome. " In a federally funded consortium ("ZooBoCo"), researchers from several German institutions want to investigate the open questions about bornaviruses - such as infection routes and risk areas.