New ‘Langya’ virus identified in China: what scientists know so far
Scientists reported that dozens of people in China had been infected with Langya, a new virus of animal origin, though they have ruled out the possibility of transmission from one person to another at this time.
In humans, the Langya virus causes symptoms such as fever, fatigue, cough, nausea, and headache.
The shrew, a small mouse-like mammal, is thought to be the animal responsible for spreading the new virus to humans, scientists said.
Injuries were reported in the eastern provinces of Shandong and Henan, as well as in the country’s central parts.
According to a report published in early August by the New England Journal of Medicine, 35 people were infected in China.
The patients, the majority of whom were farmers, had no “close contact” or “co-exposure” to a pathogen, implying “sporadic” infections in humans, according to the report.
The article revealed that some of the patients had a defect in their blood cells, while others suffered liver and kidney malfunctions.
The Langya virus was first discovered in 2018, but it was only recently that the disease was officially identified thanks to a system that detects acute fever and animal exposure history.
Given the small number of infections, scientists believe it is premature to speculate on the possibility of this virus spreading from person to person at this time.
More research is needed to better understand the diseases associated with the virus, suggested researchers from China, Singapore, and Australia who contributed to the report.
Moreover, one of the report’s authors, virologist Linfa Wang of Duke-NUS Medical College in Singapore, said that no serious or fatal cases of Langya had been reported so far.