First naturally occurring protozoan virus found in US

Scientists have discovered the first naturally occurring protozoan virus in the US.

In an article published in Nature Communications scientists from the University of North Carolina’s School of Medicine wrote, “We have found a first infecting case of a naturally occurring protozoan virus from Singapore called Clostridium tricuspidiforme (CT) that we found circulating and infecting sediments in North Carolina and Southern New York.”

They say that the virus infects the ocean floor of the Great Lakes region and behind the Great Lakes are major pools of water from which some saline ocean sediments are deposited. These pools are home to marine algae, parasites and pathogenic organisms, which the researchers say, “a tidal cycle can move upwards from the Great Lakes into the Atlantic Ocean, where they eventually fall back into the freshwater region around the Great Lakes.”

The team found the virus in water samples collected during routine lake water testing between 2004 and 2008 and they continue to monitor their viability and spread in the Great Lakes region. They also note that they believe the virus originated as part of plankton growth in the South China Sea.

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