Health authorities are on high alert after reports of a new virus have arisen in the People’s Republic of China.
At least 35 people have been infected by Langya henipavirus (LayV) in China’s Shandong and Henan provinces in the northeast, according to Taiwan’s Centers for Disease Control.
Researchers who monitored the infections found that LayV symptoms appear to share similarities with the flu, including fever, cough, headache, muscle soreness, fatigue, loss of appetite, and nausea.
Twenty-six of the 35 patients were said to be infected with LayV only, meaning there was no other pathogens present.
“These 26 patients presented with fever (100% of the patients), fatigue (54%), cough (50%), anorexia (50%), myalgia (46%), nausea (38%), headache (35%), and vomiting (35%), accompanied by abnormalities of thrombocytopenia (35%), leukopenia (54%), and impaired liver (35%) and kidney (8%) function,” researchers wrote.
The infected LayV patients reportedly had a “recent history of animal exposure in eastern China,” according to the study’s summary.
Medical experts detected the new virus through throat swab samples, which were put under “metagenomic analysis and subsequent virus isolation.”
The genome of LayV is reportedly composed of 18,402 nucleotides, and it has an identical genome organization to other henipaviruses in the Paramyxoviridae family – also known as a family of single-stranded RNA viruses.
Henipaviruses can infect humans and cause fatal diseases, according to the NEJM study. These viruses are typically found in bats, rodents, and shrews.
“The infection in the human population may be sporadic,” researchers wrote. “Contact tracing of 9 patients with 15 close-contact family members revealed no close-contact LayV transmission, but our sample size was too small to determine the status of human-to-human transmission for LayV.”
The study noted that further assessments need to be conducted to see if LayV could have a cross-reaction with the Mojiang virus, which is another henipavirus that can cause lethal pneumonia.
Detection of LayV comes at a time when most of the world is battling continued COVID-19 infections along with monkeypox containment.
What is Langya Virus?
The new viral Henipavirus infection is an alarming sign that can start another pandemic. In 2019, its first case was registered in China. Medical researchers from the Beijing Institute of Microbiology and Epidemiology conducted a study on the Langya virus and found traces of shrews, goats, and dogs in them. But still, experts are looking for answers about this zoonotic infection’s human-to-human transmission.
A few studies show that the Langya virus belongs to the same family as the Nipah virus which spreads from bats. WHO has listed Nipah virus in the list of suspected pandemics which is so deadly.
What is Henipavirus?
Henipavirus trace down from the family of Paramyxoviridae, order Mononegavirales. It is found in three deadly virus species, Hendra virus (HeV), Nipah virus (NiV) and CedPV (CedPV). These viruses consist of negative RNA which goes viral. In the 1990s many cases were reported of it in humans and livestock.
Symptoms of Langya Virus:
- Muscle spasm
- Loss appetite
- Body ache
- There is no vaccination for the Langya virus as such, but one should avoid coming in contact with the sick person.
- If your close ones are traveling from China, they should take proper care.