Mountain Gorillas Have Herpes Virus Similar to That Found in Humans

Three mountain gorillas

Scientists from the University of California, Davis, have detected a herpes virus in wild mountain gorillas that is very similar to the Epstein-Barr virus in humans, according to a study published today in the journal Scientific Reports.

Epstein-Barr virus, or EBV, infects more than 90 percent of the human population, typically without major health consequences or symptoms. It can be challenging, however, for people with HIV/AIDS and suppressed immune systems, leading to certain forms of cancer. The Epstein-Barr virus is also one of the major causes of mononucleosis, commonly called the “kissing disease.”

The study found that the mountain gorillas, a critically endangered species, have their own version of this herpes virus — a specific strain of lymphocryptovirus 1, or GbbLCV-1. 

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