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China Identifies New Virus with Flu-like Symptoms: Dozens of Cases Detected

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This newly identified virus in China presents symptoms such as fever, fatigue, cough, loss of appetite and muscle aches. The transmission is believed to have occurred from animals to humans. 

Following the recent lockdowns in China after confirmed cases of COVID-19 had been reported, a new virus has been identified. The Langya virus was first detected in 2018 in the northeastern provinces of Shandong and Henan. Last week, scientists have formally identified it. 

Scientists explain that the transmission was likely from animals to humans. Although it is not alarming, at the moment, Taiwan’s health authority is closely monitoring the spread, and researchers have tested wild animals. The tests’ findings showed LayV viral RNA in more than a quarter of Fruit Bats or Shrews, assuming it may be the natural host. 25 different species of wild animals were tested, out of which 27% of shrews were carrying the Langya virus.

Langya virus, shrew, fruit bat

In December 2018, a woman aged 53 years old showed up in a hospital showing signs of flu. She was infected with a henipavirus, a type that contains some harmful pathogens like the Nipah virus. The fatality rate of this virus is 40% to 75%. Scientists observed that the virus that infected the patient was distinct, genetically. In 2021, 34 more cases of Langya were detected in the two eastern provinces of China.

Initial symptoms may include some or several of the following:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Vomiting

Severe symptoms may also be observed:

  • Disorientation, drowsiness or confusion
  • Seizures
  • Coma
  • Encephalitis (Brain swelling)

So far, there have been no reported deaths from the patients diagnosed with the virus. Scientists are considering it an achievement to have detected the virus before a reported case of death. There are still no clear findings on whether the virus can be transmitted between people as the sample size was too small to determine this factor. 

 

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