Doctors have raised the alarm over a brand new deadly virus that has so far infected 35 people in China, more than two years after Wuhan hosted the outbreak of the COVID-19 epidemic, Joe Davis reported for the UK’s Mailonline.
Photo Insert: The novel virus is thought to have been passed on by shrews — small mammals from the same family as hedgehogs and moles.
Langya henipavirus (LayV) was detected in 35 people in the country's eastern Henan and Shandong provinces. It belongs to a family of viruses that are known to kill up to 75% of humans in severe cases.
None of the new cases has resulted in death as most cases are mild, with patients experiencing flu-like symptoms. The novel virus is thought to have been passed on by shrews — small mammals from the same family as hedgehogs and moles.
A study published last week revealed the virus was first detected in humans in 2018 but dozens of cases have been found since. Chinese experts investigating the virus believe human cases are “sporadic.”
They are still trying to work out if it can spread from person to person. It belongs to the same family as the same family as Nipah virus, a deadly pathogen that is usually found among bats, which also hosted the deadly COVID-19 virus.
Chinese researchers found the virus in 71 of 262 shrews — a small mole-like mammal — surveyed in the two Chinese provinces where the outbreak started.
Alongside shrews, the virus was also spotted in dogs (5 percent) and goats (2 percent.)
Researchers led by the Beijing Institute of Microbiology and Epidemiology published their findings on the virus in a study in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM.) They spotted the first case before January 2019 in Shandong, before a cluster of 14 cases were found over the following year in both provinces.
No infections were found during the first year of the pandemic from January to July 2020. But 11 more were found from that month onwards. The most common symptom suffered by Langya patients was fever, with all people infected coming down with a temperature.
It was followed by fatigue (54 percent), cough (50 percent), loss of appetite (50 percent), muscle aches (46 percent), and feeling queasy (38 percent.) Around 35 percent suffered liver problems while 8 percent saw a fall in kidney function.