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China discovers new virus passed to humans from shrews

Joe Harker

Published 
| Last updated 

China discovers new virus passed to humans from shrews

Featured Image Credit: Ann and Steve Toon / James Thew / Alamy

A new virus which can be passed from shrews to humans has been discovered in China.

The new virus has been found in China's Shandong and Henan provinces.

Human to human transmission has not yet been reported, and the confirmed cases of the virus do not appear to be to be posing life threatening health risks for their hosts.

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It is called the Langya Henipavirus, also known as Langya and LayV, and is part of the Henipavirus family, which includes the Hendra virus and Nipah virus.

Twenty-six of the confirmed cases have reported flu-like symptoms such as a fever, coughing and feeling fatigued.

All patients infected with the new virus who had no other diseases had fevers, while half appeared to be suffering from a loss of appetite brought on by the disease.

It's thought that this new virus has been contracted from shrews. Credit: Azoor Wildlife Photo / Alamy Stock Photo
It's thought that this new virus has been contracted from shrews. Credit: Azoor Wildlife Photo / Alamy Stock Photo
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While nobody has yet reported serious symptoms, there are concerns that if Langya ends up being like another virus it is closely related to then it could pose a serious heath problem.

The World Health Organization says the fatality rate of the Nipah virus is between 40 and 75 percent, but so far there's no evidence the Langya virus will be deadly.

There is no treatment or vaccine for the Nipah virus, which humans can catch from animals, contaminated foods and other people already infected with the virus.

While the Nipah virus is seen as one largely carried by fruit bats, the Langya virus appears to be caught from shrews in most cases.

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Fortunately, it looks like the infections among humans is 'sporadic' and not indicative of a wider spread that could sweep through a population.

The world has had quite enough of that with the coronavirus and right now we're hoping monkeypox is not going to be anywhere near as serious.

Fortunately, human to human transmission has not yet been found. Credit: blickwinkel / Alamy Stock Photo
Fortunately, human to human transmission has not yet been found. Credit: blickwinkel / Alamy Stock Photo

Speaking of the coronavirus, scientists believe they've managed to trace the origins of the virus to a food market in Wuhan.

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A team of researchers was able to point to the Wuhan market as the 'epicentre of the Covid-19 pandemic' where people begun catching the virus from animals caged there.

Understanding where Covid-19 first started infecting large amounts of people and how a virus can quickly spread among a population are vital to prevent it from happening again.

For now, let's keep our fingers crossed that the Langya virus is just a few isolated incidents.

If you have a story you want to tell, send it to UNILAD via [email protected]

Topics: News, China, Coronavirus, Health, Science

Joe Harker
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