The Covid-19 pandemic demonstrated how vulnerable human beings can be to a virus. Since then, the new infectious outbreaks that have emerged have been studied in depth to find out if the alarm should be sounded or not. This is the case of a new type of animal-derived henipavirus, known as Langya, which has been identified by scientists from China and Singapore. This recent discovery has been confirmed by a study published in the scientific journal New England Journal of Medicine, after that the virus has infected 35 people in Shandong and Henan provinces, located in eastern and central China respectively. What is its origin? The origin of this henipavirus could be from contact with animals. The report reveals that it has been found in throat swab samples from febrile Chinese patients with a history of recent contact with animals. Henipavirus is one of the important emerging causes of zoonoses in the Asia-Pacific region. That’s because it includes Hendra (HeV) and Nipah (NiV) species, which mutated and spread from animals to humans, with bats being the natural host. What are the symptoms? Symptoms associated with henipavirus are: fever, irritability, cough, anorexia, myalgia, nausea, headache and vomiting. For its part, the study carried out an analysis of 26 of the 35 infected patients, obtaining the following results: Fever was identified in 100% of the patients, fatigue in 54%, and cough and loss of appetite in the fifty%. These people also suffered muscle pain (46%), nausea (38%), headache (35%) and vomiting (35%). In addition, these patients were infected only by this virus, without any other pathogen. Is it contagious? The transmission of the virus from person to person has not yet been demonstrated, however, previous reports suggest that the virus can be transmitted between individuals. In the absence of corroborating data, the scientists say attention should be paid to new updates about the virus. The 35 patients from China had no close contact with each other and no history of common exposure. Contact tracing also did not show any viral transmission between close contacts and family. Is there any treatment? Henipaviruses can cause serious illness in animals and humans. For this reason, they are classified as biosafety level 4, with fatality rates of between 40 and 75%, according to data collected years ago by the World Health Organization (WHO). The only procedure against this virus is the support health care to control complications, since at the moment, there is no vaccine, treatment therapy against it. Despite the stir that this discovery has caused and the alarm that has been generated, the WHO has not yet issued any statement on the matter.
Welcome! Log into your account
Recover your password
A password will be e-mailed to you.