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What is Langya virus?
According to a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine, the newly identified virus is a modified form of Henipavirus. It is different to other viruses belonging to the Henipavirus genus in terms of development and evolution. The study suggested that Langya can be associated with Nipah and Hendra (Henipavirus species) that can cause fatal human infections.
How was Langya virus spotted?
Langya was first spotted during a surveillance testing of patients in eastern China who caught fever after animal contact. It was found in swab samples of one of the patients. Out of 35 patients with LayV infections, 26 were not affected by any other pathogen besides this new virus.
What are the symptoms of Langya infection?
The study took 26 people infected only from Langya to find the associated symptoms. All 26 patients had fever; however, 54 percent had fatigue, 50 percent had cough, and 38 percent reported nausea. Moreover, 35 percent of the total patients complained of vomiting and headache. The study discovered that liver functioning was disturbed in 35 percent of patients while 8 percent of people developed kidney disorders. The patients also reported abnormalities such as leukopenia, thrombocytopenia, kidney malfunction and impaired liver. Leukopenia is characterised by low white blood cell count, decreasing the body’s immunity to fight against a pathogen, while thrombocytopenia means a fall in platelet count leading to slow blood clotting.
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Where did Langya come from?
The study investigated wild and domestic animals to find the exact source of the virus. It surveyed a small population of dogs and goats that have been infected by the virus previously. However, there’s direct evidence that shrews were serving themselves as a natural host for LayV, which suggests that the virus has jumped from shrews to humans.
Is the virus contagious?
The study suggests no specific answers yet. The authors have stated that the sample size of the investigation is small to determine human-to-human transmission. However, they pointed out that there was no close contact or common exposure history among the 35 patients infected by the virus. This indicates that the infection may be random in the human population. Further work is needed to know fatal the virus can be, how it causes infection, how it spreads and how it can be controlled.
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