New fever-causing genipavirus identified in China

In China, 35 people have been diagnosed with a new genipavirus that is believed to be transmitted from shrews to humans. Infection is accompanied by severe fever and a number of other symptoms. Among them:

  • increased fatigue (54%);
  • cough (50%);
  • anorexia (50%);
  • muscle pain (46%);
  • nausea (38%);
  • headache (35%);
  • vomiting (35%);
  • dysfunction of the liver (35%) and kidneys (8%).

A study on the new virus was published by scientists from Beijing and Singapore in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Doctors note that there have been no deaths so far, as well as cases of transmission of the virus from sick people to their family members. But it is still too early to draw conclusions regarding the contagiousness.

The virus was named Langya henipavirus (LayV). It belongs to the same genus of henipaviruses as the potentially fatal to humans Nipah and Hendra , which are transmitted from animals to humans.

Photo: USFWS Pacific Southwest Region / Flickr

Antibodies to the new virus were found only in a small percentage of goats and dogs, as well as in 76% of the examined shrews – they may be the natural reservoir of Lanya, the scientists noted.

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