Scientists are on alert over a newly-discovered virus in eastern China, which made at least thirty-five people sick.
The virus, named Langya henipavirus or LayV, is thought to be transmitted from animals, and there is currently no evidence that the pathogen can be transmitted among humans, according to an announcement by Taiwan’s Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported in The Taipei Times.
Although none of the patients has died or suffered a serious illness, people need to pay close attention to further updates about the virus until the CDC has determined whether human transmission is possible or not, the organization’s Deputy Director-General, Chuang Jen-hsiang, said.
Thus far, contact tracing showed no viral transmission among close contacts and family, suggesting that human infections might be sporadic.
Taiwan’s laboratories will need to establish a standardized nucleic acid testing method to identify the virus so that human infections could be monitored if needed, Chuang added.
New virus symptoms
Of the thirty-five identified patients, twenty-six of them were infected with the Langya virus only and carryied no other pathogens.
The patients developed symptoms including fever (100 percent), fatigue (54 percent), a cough (50 percent), loss of appetite (50 percent), muscle pain (46 percent), nausea (38 percent), headache (35 percent), and vomiting (35 percent).
They also showed a decrease in white blood cells (54 percent), low platelet count (35 percent), liver failure (35 percent), and kidney failure (8 percent).
According to Bloomberg, the novel pathogen was discovered thanks to an early detection system for feverish people with a recent history of exposure to animals, and the patients were mainly local farmers.
The CDC tested twenty-five wild animal species to detect the provenance of the new zoonotic pathogen, and the results suggested that the shrew might be the natural reservoir of the Langya henipavirus, as the virus was found in 27 percent of the tested shrew subjects.
The study titled “A Zoonotic Henipavirus in Febrile Patients in China” was published in the New England Journal of Medicine on August 4th.