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The practice of hunting and eating bushmeat in Central Africa is infecting people with a new virus. While it has not caused illness, it has spread — and scientists are watching carefully. A primate virus is thought to have triggered today's HIV pandemic.

Researchers from the United States and Cameroon looked at blood from more than a thousand people in the region for signs of infection with simian foamy virus. Ten carried antibodies to the virus, suggesting exposure to it.

Team leader Nathan Wolfe of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. is now analysing the samples for the presence of other wild primate viruses.

Link to full news story in Nature Science Update

Link to research paper by Nathan Wolfe et al in The Lancet*

Link to commentary on the research by Martine Peeters of the French Institute of Research for Development, in The Lancet*

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