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Langya Virus Tracked after China Reports Dozens of Cases

Scientists believe that animals likely transmit the virus to people

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Ishita Chakraborty
Ishita Chakraborty
Editor-in-Chief at Transcontinental Times, Computer Science Graduate, PG diploma in Journalism and Mass communication. Ishita is a youth activist for PETA India, President of Girlup IWO, and a linguaphile. She covers social issues, politics, UN initiatives, sports, and diversity.

CHINA: Numerous cases of a recently discovered virus have been reported in China, and researchers have started following it there.

Although it was first discovered in the northeastern provinces of Shandong and Henan in late 2018, scientists didn’t correctly identify the novel Langya henipavirus (LayV) until this week.

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Scientists believe that animals likely transmit the virus to people, and Taiwan’s health administration is currently keeping an eye on the spread.

Moreover, a quarter of 262 shrews were positive with LayV virus RNA by the researchers that tested wild animals, “a finding that suggests that the shrew may be a natural reservoir.”

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Additionally, 2% of domestic goats and 5% of dogs were positive for the virus.

Scientists from China, Singapore, and Australia released a letter outlining their preliminary research on the virus in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) last week.

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The virus affected humans and caused symptoms like fever, exhaustion, coughing, appetite loss, and muscle aches. The experts reported that everyone who was infected developed a fever.

In 26 of the 35 individuals, the virus was the lone possible culprit discovered, indicating that “LayV was the cause of febrile illness.”

Yet, LayV has not resulted in any fatalities. According to Prof. Wang Linfa of the Duke-NUS Medical School, a co-author of the NEJM research, there is “no need for alarm” because the LayV cases so far have “not been deadly or extremely serious.”

Researchers stated it was yet unclear whether the virus can spread between humans. The majority of the 35 cases included farmers, while factory workers were also afflicted.

“Contact tracing of nine patients with 15 close-contact family members revealed no close-contact LayV transmission, but our sample size was too small to determine the status of human-to-human transmission,” the researchers found.

Researchers that sequenced the LayV genome discovered that it belongs to the family of zoonotic RNA viruses known as henipaviruses, which also includes the Hendra virus and the Nipah virus.

High fatality rates have been linked to the Australian-originating Hendra virus, which affects humans and horses, and the South-east Asian-originating Nipah virus.

However, the Mojiang virus, which was found in southern China, and LayV are most closely related to one another.

The Taiwan Centers for Disease Control (CDC) declared on Sunday that it would implement virus genome sequencing and surveillance procedures.

The Taiwan CDC’s deputy director general, Chuang Jen-hsiang, stated during a news conference that the organisation was looking into disease transmission routes and will work with the Council of Agriculture to look for related illnesses in Taiwanese native species.

Experts in infectious illnesses have long cautioned that environmental degradation and the climate crisis will raise the likelihood of “zoonotic spillovers,” or the transmission of viruses from animals to people.

Also Read: Kerala Confirms India’s First Death from Monkeypox Virus

Author

  • Ishita Chakraborty

    Editor-in-Chief at Transcontinental Times, Computer Science Graduate, PG diploma in Journalism and Mass communication. Ishita is a youth activist for PETA India, President of Girlup IWO, and a linguaphile. She covers social issues, politics, UN initiatives, sports, and diversity.

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