New virus of animal origin, Langya, detected in China –

Several dozen people in China have contracted a new virus of animal origin, dubbed Langya. At this stage, scientists rule out the risk of human-to-human transmission and no serious or fatal cases have been identified so far.

The infections were seen in the Chinese provinces of Shandong (east) and Henan (central). Thirty-five people have been infected in China, according to a report published in early August by the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), a leading medical journal in the United States.

The Langya henipavirus (LayV) virus causes symptoms in humans such as fever, fatigue, cough, nausea and headache. Scientists speculate that the shrew, a small mammal with a pointed snout, could be the animal that allowed its transmission to humans.

No serious cases

The patients, mostly farmers, had neither “close contact” nor “common exposure” to a pathogen, underlines the study, which assumes a “sporadic” infection in humans.

Some have developed blood cell abnormalities. Others experienced impaired liver and kidney function, the report said. No serious or fatal cases of Langya have been recorded so far

Identification formelle

Langya was detected for the first time in 2018. But this time the virus could be formally identified, thanks to a system for detecting acute fevers and a history of exposure to animals.

At this stage, scientists consider it premature to comment on a possible human-to-human transmission of LayV, given the low number of cases. Further research is needed to better understand the illnesses associated with the virus.


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