Langya, new type of animal-derived Henipavirus has so far infected at least 35 people in Shandong and Henan provinces of China, official media here reported on Tuesday.
Also called henipavirus, LayV, the virus was found in throat swab samples from febrile patients in eastern China, state-run Global Times quoted media reports.
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Taiwan’s Centers for Disease Control (CDC) are currently establishing a nucleic acid testing method to identify and check the spread of the virus.
Where did the Langya virus come from?
The henipavirus is being transmitted from animals to humans. Human-to-human transmission of the virus has not been reported so far. However, there is no official statement that the Langya virus cannot be transmitted amoung humans.
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“Langya virus is a newly detected virus and therefore, Taiwan’s laboratories will require a standardized nucleic acid testing method to identify the virus, so that human infections could be monitored, if needed,” Taiwan’s CDC Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang said.
Jen-hsiang further provided the details of a serological survey conducted on domestic animals. He concluded that 2% of the tested goats and 5% of the tested dogs were positive.
A test was also conducted on 25 wild animal species. It concluded that the shrew might be a natural reservoir of the Langya henipavirus, the CDC Deputy DG said.
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Scholars who participated in the study pointed out that this newly discovered Henipavirus is associated with some febrile cases, and the infected people have symptoms including fever, fatigue, cough, anorexia, myalgia, and nausea.
There is currently no vaccine or treatment for Henipavirus and the only treatment is supportive care to manage complications.
The cases of Langya henipavirus so far have not been fatal or very serious, so there is no need for panic, Wang Linfa, a Professor in the Programme in Emerging Infectious Diseases at Duke-NUS Medical School who was involved in the study said, adding that it is still a cause for alert as many viruses that exist in nature have unpredictable results when they infect humans.
Further investigation found that 26 out of 35 cases of Langya Henipavirus infection in Shandong and Henan provinces have developed clinical symptoms such as fever, irritability, cough, anorexia, myalgia, nausea, headache and vomiting, the report said.