New animal-linked virus infects dozens in eastern China

Langya virus, which can cause fever, fatigue and nausea, was found in 35 people in eastern China, researchers say.

Scientists in Asia have identified a new virus that can cause severe fever and was transmitted from animals to humans in eastern China.

Lay henipavirus (LayV) was found in 35 people from Shandong and Henan provinces in China, who were tested between 2018 and 2021. letter It was published earlier this month in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The virus can cause high fever, fatigue, cough and loss of appetite, the researchers said in the letter. Some patients also experience body aches, nausea, vomiting and headaches, he said.

Many had impaired liver function.

Researchers in China, Australia and Singapore said LayV was first identified in a 53-year-old woman in December 2018 during the care of patients with severe fever and recent exposure to animals.

The researchers then surveyed domestic and wild animals to track the animal host of the virus and found that the long RNA was most abundant in shrews, small mammals with long snouts and small eyes.

About 27 percent of the shoes tested positive for the virus, suggesting that the animals could be a “natural reservoir of Levi,” he wrote.

About 5 percent of dogs and 2 percent of goats also tested positive, he said.

The discovery of LayV comes less than three years after the Covid-19 pandemic, which scientists believe is also caused by the spread of the virus from animals to humans.

But unlike SARS-CoV2, the virus that causes COVID-19, the researchers behind the new study said they have so far found no evidence of human-to-human transmission for LayV.

“The patients did not have close contacts or a common exposure history, suggesting that infection may be sporadic in the human population,” they wrote.

“Contact tracing of 9 patients with 15 close-contact family members found no close-contact LayV transmission, but our sample size was too small to determine the status of human-to-human transmission for LayV,” he added.

Professor Wang Linfa of Singapore’s Duke-NUS Medical School, who was involved in the study, told China’s Global Times that the cases of LayV infection were not fatal or very serious.

No need to panic, said the tabloid.

Researchers said LayV is genetically most closely related to the deadly Mojiang henipavirus that infected six miners in southern China in 2012. All three eventually died.

LayV also belongs to the same family as Nipah and Hendra viruses.

Nipah virus was first identified during an outbreak among pig farmers Malaysia in 1999 and has also been identified in Bangladesh and India, according to the World Health Organization.

Nipah infection can be fatal, with 40 to 75 percent of infected people dying in previous outbreaks. It can be transmitted from animals such as bats and pigs to humans and from humans to humans.

Hendra virus was first identified in Australia in 1999 and has infected seven humans and more than 70 horses. All these cases were confined to the northeast coast of Australia, the WHO said.

There is still no cure or vaccine for Henipavirus infection.

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