Scientists have discovered a new virus in eastern China that can be transmitted from animals to humans. But health experts say this is no reason to panic.
Researchers identified the new pathogen, known as Langya virus, in 35 people between April 2018 and August 2021. According to a peer-reviewed study published last week in the New England Journal of Medicine. Most of the affected patients were farmers.
Among the 26 people who were not infected with another pathogen, the most common symptoms were fever, fatigue, cough, anorexia, myalgia, nausea, headache, and vomiting.
Contact tracing of nine patients, including 15 family members, did not reveal human-to-human transmission.
“For something to really be something we’re concerned about … it has to be able to spread to people,” said Emily Gurley, an epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. “There is no evidence from this report of person-to-person transmission.”
Scientists also found the virus in some domesticated goats and dogs, but they hypothesized that it may have originated in wild horses where it was mainly found.
Through genetic sequencing, the researchers determined that the virus is part of the henipavirus family, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says The other five viruses: Hendra virus, Nipah virus, Cedar virus, Ghanaian bat virus and Mojiang virus.
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Hendra and Nipah virus are highly virulent and have been associated with high mortality rates in past outbreaks, Dr. said Paul Dupreux, virologist and director of the Center for Vaccine Research at the University of Pittsburgh. Reports suggest that the new Langa virus may cause milder illness.
There are Cedar, Ghanaian and Mojiang viruses no Definitely did The jump of men. Gurley said Langya virus is genetically similar to Moizang virus.
The report may signal to scientists, Dupreux said, that people “shouldn’t panic every time a new virus is discovered.”
“We have primate brains, for the most part, and there are only a few things in life that we can really care about,” Gurley said. “I don’t think this should make the list.”
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This article originally appeared on USA Today: Langya henipavirus: New virus infects dozens in China. What do you want to know?