New zoonotic virus appears in China, 35 people infected

novel zoonotic virus
Medical or scientific researcher or man doctor looking at a test tube of clear solution in a laboratory

Langya, from the henipavirus family, was discovered in China, discovered in two eastern provinces of the country, as reported by Taipei Times on Tuesday August 9, 2022. Two scientists, a Hong Konger and a Singaporean, are concerned and s are alarming.

The shrew would be at the origin

So far, 35 people have been affected. The latter suffer from extreme fatigue, headaches, temperature, vomiting. Symptoms therefore similar to those of Covid-19. According to the World Health Organization, there would be a fatality rate – proportion of deaths linked to a disease or a particular condition, compared to the total number of cases affected by the disease -, which would range from 40 to 75% .

The virus would be transmitted from animals to humans. 25 animal species have been analyzed and it seems that the virus is most present in shrews: they could be a natural reservoir. So far, no human-to-human transmission has been observed.

A soporadic infection

In reality, these 35 cases were identified between April 2018 and August 2021, as Professor François Balloux of the UCL Genetics institute points out on Twitter. Which is quite reassuring. On the other hand, for the time being, there is no vaccine to fight against of the Henipavirus family. Furthermore, “cThis family is known and includes in particular the Nipah and Hendra viruses from bats, which are closely monitored in humans, because they are responsible for serious and potentially fatal diseases, ”explains virologist Yannick Simonin, at Parisien.

Finally, the epidemiological investigation carried out on these patients shows “that there was no close contact or common history of exposure”. This therefore means that “infection in the human population may be sporadic”.

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