Wed, 10 Aug 2022 08:05 AM IST
While the world continues to battle the COVID-19 crisis and the monkeypox infection, a new "animal-derived" virus has emerged in China, raising concerns among health experts. The virus, Henipavirus, has infected 35 people in China, mostly in the Shandong and Henan provinces.
Also known as 'Langya', Henipavirus can be transmitted from animals to humans. Local media reports have said that officials have now started using nucleic acid testing procedures to find the virus and track its spread.
WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS?
A report by Daily Mail has claimed that Langya was first detected in humans in China's Shandong in January 2019. A few days after that, 14 new cases were reported in other parts of the country. However, "no infections were found during the first year of the pandemic in January to July in 2020," the report said.
The virus, the Daily Mail report said, might have emerged from shrews, small mole-like mammals with cylindrical bodies, short and slender limbs, and clawed digits. At present, it is not known whether the virus cases in humans are "sporadic" or not.
Chinese researchers from the Beijing Institute of Microbiology and Epidemiology, however, have found 71 cases among 262 shrews. Besides, they also found it in some dogs and goats.
"There was no close contact or common exposure history among the patients, which suggests that the infection in the human population may be sporadic," they said in a report. "Contact tracing of nine 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," they said, as reported by Daily Mail.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF THE LANGYA VIRUS?
The most common symptom in an infected patient was fever. Other symptoms include fatigue (54 per cent), cough (50 per cent), loss of appetite (50 per cent), muscle aches (46 per cent), and feeling queasy (38 per cent).
IS IT DEADLY?
As of now, the cases of Langya virus have not been fatal or very serious.
IS THERE A VACCINE AVAILABLE FOR LANGYA VIRUS?
At present, no vaccine or treatment for the Langya virus is available.