New Squirrel Virus Kills 3 Germans

New Squirrel Virus Kills 3 GermansNew Squirrel Virus Kills 3 Germans

Three German breeders have died after contracting a new strain of virus from their squirrels. The men died two to four months after developing encephalitis between 2011 and 2013, which is an inflammation in the brain causing fever, chills, weakness, confusion and difficulty walking, reports Daily Mail.

A study found a previously unknown bornavirus (often found in horses and sheep) called VSBV-1 was found in a squirrel and in brain samples from the three men, and antibodies to the virus were found in the blood and spinal fluid of one of the men, indicating the virus was the likely cause of the men’s deaths. Although they were treated in intensive care units, they slipped into comas and died within four months of their initial symptoms. At least two of the breeders had received scratches or bites from the squirrels.