Dozens of people have been infected by a new, animal-derived virus in eastern and central China.
The novel Langya henipavirus (LayV) was detected in 35 patients in the Shandong and Henan provinces. Many suffered fever, headaches, vomiting and a cough.
Researchers believe the patients contracted the virus from animals, and there is currently no evidence that it can transmit among humans, scientists said in a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine last week.
There have been no known deaths from LayV. The cases have not been “very serious” and there is “no need for panic,” said Prof Wang Linfa from the Emerging Infectious Diseases Programme at Duke-NUS Medical School in Singapore, who was involved in the study.
However, Mr Wang said, there is still a need to be alert as many viruses that exist in nature have unpredictable results when they infect humans.
The researchers tested wild animals and found LayV in 27 per cent of the 262 shrews tested. They said this suggests that the shrew may be a natural reservoir. Five per cent of dogs and two per cent of goats also tested positive for it.
Most of the 35 cases worked as farmers, while others were employed in a factory.
Researchers are now monitoring if the virus can be transmitted among humans.
Read more via The Telegraph