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Rare disease could spread.

UNIVERSITY of Birmingham boffins say new strains of a potentially fatal disease found in Canada could spread across the globe.

Scientists interbred different strains of the Cryptococcus gattii fungus to test how easily the characteristics can transfer to other strains.

Research showed the fungus can easily pass its deadly genes to related fungal strains.

Professor Robin May, from the School of Biosciences, said: "That the fungus can easily pass on the genes that make it more dangerous means that we could potentially see new strains of C. gattii cropping up spontaneously, causing outbreaks of disease in areas that were previously unaffected.

"Although this is still a very rare disease, with only around 400 people having been affected in the last decade, the results of our study show that surveillance efforts will be vital to stop it from spreading."
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Sep 7, 2013
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