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Watch Out: Researchers Find Mysterious AIDS-Like Disease

Watch Out: Researchers Find Mysterious AIDS-Like Disease

Kali McCarthy

September 4th, 2012

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For years, scientists have disputed the origin of the HIV virus, with some even going so far as to question whether it was man-made. Since that time, HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, has eviscerated entire communities.

In America, homosexual men were initially the group hit the hardest by the disease, while in poor African communities, AIDS rates have, in some cases, skyrocketed to half the population. But would things have been different if we’d known AIDS was out there and that it wasn’t like any disease we’d seen previously? Maybe. This is what makes early detection of disease so important.

Scientists have discovered a new disease which is making people sick in Asia and the U.S. The disease, like AIDS, leaves its victims unable to fight infection. Unlike AIDS, however, this disease does not appear to be contagious.

CBS Atlanta reporting:

“This is absolutely fascinating. I’ve seen probably at least three patients in the last 10 years or so” who might have had this, said Dr. Dennis Maki, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.

It’s still possible that an infection of some sort could trigger the disease, even though the disease itself doesn’t seem to spread person-to-person, he said.

Most of the cases have been found in Thailand and Taiwan. According to researchers, the disease usually develops around age 50 and has led to death from infection. Unlike AIDS, the new mysterious disease does not destroy T cells, but instead creates autoantibodies that block interferon-gamma, a chemical signal that helps the body wash away infections.

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