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Scientists have discovered a new novel virus in China that’s infected dozens of people already

Rachel Lang

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| Last updated 

Scientists have discovered a new novel virus in China that’s infected dozens of people already

Featured Image Credit: Stocktrek Images, Inc./ Alamy. Keitma/Alamy.

Health officials in China are monitoring the spread of a new virus that has already infected dozens, despite none of them having any known close contact.

Langya henipavirus, which is typically found in bats and shrews, has racked up 35 human infections across the provinces of Shandong and Henan, according to Taiwan’s Centers for Disease Control (CDC), as per the Taipei Times.

The CDC have confirmed that they will begin to establish further nucleic acid testing procedures, tracking procedures and genome sequencing.

CDC Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang told the Taipei Times that there have been no confirmed cases of human-to-human transmission of the virus, however he urged people to pay close attention to further updates as authorities continue to investigate.

The announcement follows a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

26 of the 35 patients infected have suffered flu-like symptoms, with the study outlining that symptoms of Langya henipavirus have so far included fever, tiredness, cough, headache, loss of appetite, and vomiting.

The study also noted that researchers found patients with the virus suffered from a decrease in white blood cells, low platelet count, and in some cases liver or kidney failure.

Langya henipavirus belongs to the henipavirus family, which has two previously identified viruses; the Hendra virus and Nipah virus.

Viruses from the henipavirus family have a fatality rate of up to 75 per cent, making the fatality rate much higher than coronavirus, the World Health Organisation reports.

Deputy Chief Physician at the department of Infectious Diseases of Huashan Hospital Affiliated to Fudan University Wang Xinyu warned that the world needs to be prepared for future pandemics similar to the Coronavirus.

"Coronavirus will not be the last infectious disease to cause a pandemic worldwide, as new infectious diseases will have an increasingly greater impact on human daily life," he told the Global Times.

Test results conducted on local dogs, goats, and shrews have come back as positive.

Experts suspect that the virus may have been contracted from shrews, as the Langya henipavirus was found in 27 percent of the shrews tested.

There is no vaccine or treatment for henipaviruses, but doctors can provide treatment and care to alleviate various symptoms.

No deaths have been reported so far.

Topics: News, China, Health, World News

Rachel Lang
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