Chinese authorities are urgently looking into a new deadly virus that has infected over three dozen people in the country, several media in Asia report this morning.
The virus, called Langya, is carried to humans from animals, particularly shrews, according to The Taipei Times.
The Langya henipavirus has been discovered in China, with 35 confirmed human infections reported so far, Taiwan’s Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said today.
A study titled “A Zoonotic Henipavirus in Febrile Patients in China” is reportedly to be published in the New England Journal of Medicine tomorrow and will say that a new henipavirus associated with a fever-causing human illness has been identified in China.
The patients have symptoms including fever, fatigue, a cough, loss of appetite , muscle pain, nausea, a headache and vomiting.
When asked for confirmation, CDC Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) on Sunday that said according to the study, human-to-human transmission of the virus has not been reported, and that a serological survey of domestic animals found 2 percent of the tested goats and 5 percent of the tested dogs were positive.
Test results from 25 wild animal species suggest that the shrew might be a natural reservoir of the Langya henipavirus, as the virus was found in 27 percent of the shrew subjects, he said.
The infected people across China did reportedly not have close contact with each other or a common exposure history.
Contact tracing showed no viral transmission among their relatives or close contacts, which could indicate human infections are sporadic.
The CDC, however, said it still needs to confirm via tests whether the virus can be transmitted among humans.
As the Langya virus is a newly detected virus, Taiwan’s laboratories will need to establish a standardized nucleic acid testing method to identify the virus, so that human infections could be monitored, if needed, Chuang explained in several Asian publications.