As the world continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic and a worrying monkeypox outbreak, a new zoonotic virus likely to be transmitted from animals to humans has caught the attention of scientists.
In China, between December 2018 and August 2021, 35 people were infected with Langya virus, which is believed to have spread from shrews – small mole-like mammals – according to researchers.
The results, published last week in the New England Journal of Medical, did not suggest human-to-human transmission, but the sample size was too small to determine whether the virus can be spread through close human-to-human contact, the study authors said.
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“Contact tracing of nine patients with 15 close contact family members revealed no LayV transmission through close contact,” they wrote.
“There was no close contact or shared history of exposure among patients, suggesting that infection may be sporadic in the human population.”
Samples were collected from April 2018 to August 2021. The cases were discovered in the eastern provinces of Shandong and Henan.
Of the 35 patients, 26 were infected only with Langya and all had fever. Other symptoms included fatigue, cough, nausea, headache and vomiting. More severe cases had impaired liver and kidney function.
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dr Donald Vinh, an infectious disease specialist and medical microbiologist at McGill University Health Center, said scientists should closely monitor Langya, which he says has never been detected in humans before, because there isn’t enough information on how it spreads and behaves.
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“The medical and scientific community needs to be vigilant and vigilant to develop tests to ensure we know how widespread this virus is,” he said.
“But that doesn’t mean the general public needs to worry.”
Langya virus is in the same family as Nipah virus, which occurs naturally in certain species of fruit bats and can cause serious illness and death in humans, Vinh said.
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Human-to-human transmission of Nipah virus has been reported.
Nipah virus can spread through close contact with the bodily fluids and feces of infected people, as well as through contact with infected animals such as bats and pigs, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada. The virus can also be transmitted by eating contaminated foods such as raw dates, fresh fruit, and palm sap.
Nipah virus affects the brain and respiratory tract, killing 40-75 percent of people it infects, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
“When cousins act similarly, it’s a bit of a concern for Langya,” Vinh said.
No cases of Nipah or Langya virus have been reported in Canada to date.
There are no specific vaccines or treatments developed for either virus.
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https://globalnews.ca/news/9050378/langya-virus-china/ New Langya virus detected in China Here’s what we know so far – National