CHINA – Yet another newer and “potentially fatal” virus has been discovered to be in several infected people in China, this time passed to humans from animals such as shrews.
Taiwan’s Centers for Disease Control has announced that 35 people have been confirmed to have been infected with the Langya Henipavirus, which was first discovered in 2018 but, for some reason, has entered into the realm of testing of late.
The Taipei CDC has issued a “precautionary alert” regarding Langya, which advises residents to “closely monitor” new information regarding the virus.
The cases were discovered so far on the Chinese mainland in the provinces of Shandong and Henan through throat samples. Experts will now reportedly be using nucleic acid testing to track the spread of the virus. Symptoms have been mild in patients so far, with mostly “flu-like symptoms.”
So far, there is no common source of the infected individuals, and the virus does not appear to have significant human-to-human transmissibility. The 35 infected persons have not been around each other. The virus can reportedly cause renal and hepatic failure. There have been no deaths reported that are associated with the virus.
Chuang Jen-Hsiang is the deputy director of the Taiwan CDC. He said that there has been testing done in animals, which found that nearly “two percent of goats and five percent of dogs and other domestic animals” have been found to be infected with Langya “after a thorough serological survey.” Further, it was found in 71 of 262 tested shrews.
Reportedly, 26 of the infected persons had the following symptoms: “fever, exhaustion, a cough, appetite loss, muscle discomfort, nausea, headaches, and vomiting.” Testing showed a reduction in white blood cells in more severe cases, in addition to liver failure, renal failure, and a low platelet count.
The World Health Organization has previously classified the viruses in the henipavirus family as a “biosafety Level 4 virus,” which means fatality rates can range from 40 to 75 percent of infected cases. This death rate is much higher than viruses in the coronavirus family, such as Covid-19.
At this time, there is no vaccine or treatment being pushed for the virus other than “supportive care” for the many symptoms associated with the sickness.
The Beijing Institute of Microbiology and Epidemiology said that there were no infections of the Langya virus found during January and July of 2020, the height of Covid. With the raising rates of Covid, testing and lab work on Langya was put on hold.
Eleven cases were reported from July 2020, with the most cases being reported right now.
This, of course, comes as Covid still lingers worldwide, and monkeypox has recently been deemed a “global health emergency.”
The WHO has stated that the virus Nipah (in the same family as Lanya) will be the cause of the next pandemic.