New virus, ‘henipavirus’, surfaces in China, 35 people infected
NEWS DIGEST – The New England Journal of Medicine says in China, 35 people in two provinces have fallen ill with a newly detected virus that is transmitted from animals to humans.
A team of scientists from China, Singapore and Australia reported in the journal that infections with the pathogen named Langya henipavirus, LayV, occurred in the provinces of Shangdong and Henan, mainly among farmers who had previously been in close contact with animals.
The infections were discovered between the end of 2018 and the beginning of 2021.
No evidence of direct human-to-human transmission was found.
The researchers did not report any deaths.
Among the 35 patients, 26 were exclusively infected with LayV.
These patients suffered from symptoms such as fever, fatigue, cough and muscle pain.
In some of the patients, there was evidence of liver and kidney damage.
In tests in animals, the virus was mainly found in shrews, the researchers led by Wei Liu from the Institute of Microbiology and Epidemiology in Beijing reported.
The virus was probably of animal origin and only occurred sporadically in humans.
Experts however said that further studies were necessary to better understand the pathogen and the human diseases associated with it.