Thursday, September 18, 2014

Think you’re healthy? You may be carrying around viruses you don’t even know about

By Abby Phillip September 17 at 9:47 AM WashPost

Even if you're otherwise healthy, you may be carrying around a handful of viruses in your body.

A new study by researchers at Washington University in St. Louis sampled 102 healthy young people between ages 18 and 40 for signs of viruses in their bodies. They found plenty.

In 92 percent of the people -- an equal split between men and women -- there was at least one virus. In some cases, the researchers found 10 to 15 viruses. The findings were published in the journal BMC Biology.

Gregory Storch, a Washington University virologist and one of the study's co-authors, noted that while we're comfortable with the idea of our bodies constantly harboring bacteria, the idea of viral pathogens living in our healthy bodies isn't something that has been well studied.

"Most everyone is familiar with the idea that a normal bacterial flora exists in the body," Storch said in a statement. "Lots of people have asked whether there is a viral counterpart, and we haven’t had a clear answer. But now we know there is a normal viral flora, and it’s rich and complex."

(More here.)

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