The Langya henipavirus, which can be transmitted from animals to humans, has been discovered in China, with 35 human infections reported so far, Taiwan’s Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said, adding that the nation would establish a nucleic acid testing method to identify the virus.
A study titled “A Zoonotic Henipavirus in Febrile Patients in China” that was published in the New England Journal of Medicine on Thursday said that a new henipavirus associated with a fever-causing human illness was identified in China.
The study said an investigation identified 35 patients with acute infection of the Langya henipavirus in China’s Shandong and Henan provinces, and that 26 of them were infected with the Langya virus only, with no other pathogens.
The 26 patients developed symptoms including fever (100 percent), fatigue (54 percent), a cough (50 percent), loss of appetite (50 percent), muscle pain (46 percent), nausea (38 percent), headache (35 percent) and vomiting (35 percent).
They also showed a decrease in white blood cells (54 percent), low platelet count (35 percent), liver failure (35 percent) and kidney failure (8 percent).
When asked for confirmation, CDC Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) on Sunday that said according to the study, human-to-human transmission of the virus has not been reported, and that a serological survey of domestic animals found 2 percent of the tested goats and 5 percent of the tested dogs were positive.
Test results from 25 wild animal species suggest that the shrew might be a natural reservoir of the Langya henipavirus, as the virus was found in 27 percent of the shrew subjects, he said.
Chuang said the 35 patients in China did not have close contact with each other or a common exposure history, and contact tracing showed no viral transmission among close contacts and family, suggesting that human infections might be sporadic.
However, as the CDC has yet to determine whether the virus can be transmitted among humans, people need to pay close attention to further updates about the virus, he said.
As the Langya virus is a newly detected virus, Taiwan’s laboratories will need to establish a standardized nucleic acid testing method to identify the virus, so that human infections could be monitored, if needed, Chuang added.
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