Potentially deadly new virus discovered in China – passed to humans from shrews

A concerning new virus that is believed to be passed from shrews to humans has been discovered in China.

The Langya Henipavirus, or “Langya” could potentially be fatal – and has already infected 35 people.

So far none of these people have become seriously ill or died, according to Taiwan’s Centers for Disease Control (CDC) viaThe Taipei Times’ report.

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No human-to-human transmissions have been detected yet, although cases are understood to have cropped up in the Shandong and Henan provinces, China.

Flu-like symptoms have affected 26 of the cases, while fatigue, a cough, loss of appetite, muscle pain, nausea, headaches and vomiting have all also been seen.

A decrease in white blood cells, a low platelet count, liver failure and kidney failure were also detected in some cases.

An expert from the CDC said that the patients are not thought to have had close contact with one another.

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No traces of the virus among their contacts raises hopes that transmission between people is rare although research is still ongoing to work out if it is possible.

A study of domestic animals found that 5% of dogs and 2% of goats tested positive for the virus. It was found in 27% of shrews, indicating they might be a natural store of the virus.

Two other viruses have been detected in the past in the same family – known as Henipavirus – Hendra virus and Nipah virus.

China is understood to be developing a nucleic acid testing method to identify the virus.

A study in the New England Journal of Medicine called “A Zoonotic Henipavirus in Febrile Patients in China” has noted the cases. It said that of the 35 total cases, 26 of the patients were infected only with Langya.


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