Newly identified raccoon virus may cause brain tumors

12/12/2012 | ScienceDaily

Twelve raccoons with brain tumors were found to be infected with a newly identified virus called raccoon polyomavirus, and scientists think the virus may be causing the tumors. Raccoons live in close proximity to people and are exposed to items from our environment including waste, and researchers are evaluating the potential role of humans among factors that may have contributed to the tumors. They hope the study will ultimately benefit people. "Understanding how infectious agents may contribute to cancer in animals has provided fundamental new knowledge on the cause of cancer in people," said veterinarian Michael Lairmore, dean of the University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine.

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