Everything About the New Langya Virus That Has Infected 35 People in China So Far

You might have heard about the new Langya virus recently, and had a deja vu moment.

After all, it started from China and that was how COVID-19 started.

Is is something we should be worried about?

If you’ve only two minutes, you can watch this video to know more:

Prefer to read? Here’s everything about the new Langya virus, which has infected 35 people in China so far.

Likely Transmitted from Shrews

The Langya henipavirus (LayV) was discovered when the Chinese government did recent surveillance of people with fevers who had a recent history of animal exposure.

It was first identified in a throat swab sample from one patient, and 34 more patients were subsequently discovered in the Shandong and Henan provinces. Most of the patients were farmers.

After initial investigations, researchers have found that LayV was largely detected in shrews, and was likely transmitted to humans from them.

This is how a shrew looks like:

Image: Martin Pelanek / Shutterstock.com

71 in 262 shrews were found to have the virus, while 5% of dogs and 2% of goats had it.

No Evidence of Human-to-Human Transmission for the Langya Virus (Yet)

The researchers have noted that there was no close contact or common exposure history amongst the patients.

Contact tracing of patients with close family members also did not reveal any close-contact LayV transmissions. However, we should keep in mind that their sample size was “too small to determine the status of human-to-human transmission”.

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Not Very Serious (For Now) Despite Belonging in Severe Family of Viruses

LayV belongs to the same virus family of henipavirus, which houses the Hendra virus and Nipah virus. These viruses are known to have infected humans, and can cause severe and fatal diseases.

The Nipah virus is carried by certain fruit bats and pigs, and can be transmitted from contaminated fruit and from person to person. Both viruses have no vaccines or treatments.

However, according to Chinese state media Global Times, it seems like the cases of LayV thus far have not been very serious at all. 26 out of 35 patients have experienced symptoms like fever, fatigue, cough, headache, nausea, vomiting, and muscle aches.

According to Professor Wang Linfa of Duke-NUS Medical School’s Emerging Infectious Diseases Programme, there is currently no need to panic.

Nevertheless, we should still remain on high alert, as many viruses in nature can mutate unpredictably when they infect humans.

Hopefully, we won’t have another monkeypox or COVID-19 situation on our hands.

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Featured Image: shutterstock.com / StanislavSukhin, Martin Pelanek