Scientists Discover 43,381 New Viruses Lurking in Sewer Systems

More

Make sure you're sitting down for your daily dose of health news: NPR noted that scientists have discovered 43,381 unknown viruses in sewerage water sampled in three cities (Pittsburgh, Barcelona, and Addis Ababa). For perspective: Science today has classified only about 3,000 known viruses. You can take solace in the fact that about 90 percent only infect bacteria or plants -- not humans. But you're still allowed to panic about the more than 4,000 viruses that might come after you -- especially if you saw Contagion. The study, which appeared in the journal mBio, however, concludes that knowing what's out there is the best defense from eye-melting superbugs:

"At this time, virology is focused on the study of a relatively small number of viral species. Specific viruses are studied either because they are easily propagated in the laboratory or because they are associated with disease. The lack of knowledge of the size and characteristics of the viral universe and the diversity of viral genomes is a roadblock to understanding important issues, such as the origin of emerging pathogens and the extent of gene exchange among viruses."

Read the full story at The Atlantic Wire.

Jump to comments
Presented by

The Atlantic Wire is your authoritative guide to the news and ideas that matter most right now.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

Adventures in Legal Weed

Colorado is now well into its first year as the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. How's it going? James Hamblin visits Aspen.


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Adventures in Legal Weed

Colorado is now well into its first year as the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. How's it going? James Hamblin visits Aspen.

Video

What Makes a Story Great?

The storytellers behind House of CardsandThis American Life reflect on the creative process.

Video

Tracing Sriracha's Origin to Thailand

Ever wonder how the wildly popular hot sauce got its name? It all started in Si Racha.

Video

Where Confiscated Wildlife Ends Up

A government facility outside of Denver houses more than a million products of the illegal wildlife trade, from tigers and bears to bald eagles.

Video

Is Wine Healthy?

James Hamblin prepares to impress his date with knowledge about the health benefits of wine.

Video

The World's Largest Balloon Festival

Nine days, more than 700 balloons, and a whole lot of hot air

Writers

Up
Down

More in Health

Just In