A new virus believed to be spread by shrews has affected nearly three dozen people in eastern China, according to a new report.
The virus, named Langya henipavirus or “LayV,” was detected thanks to a system in place to monitor people with feverish symptoms who have had close contact with animals in China.
Those infected, who were mainly farmers, reported symptoms such as fatigue, cough, loss of appetite, and body aches.
Some also developed blood-cel abnormalities and signs of liver and kidney damage.
A report published in the New England Journal of Medicine, inclusive of Chinese scientists, suggests that 26 people were infected with LayV of the 35 patients tested.
Some 27% of shrews, a recognized vector for related henipaviruses, tested positive for the virus, suggesting they may be a natural reservoir.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, zoonosis, the transmission of pathogens from animals to humans, accounts for more than six of every ten known infectious diseases in humans.
A recent study in Laos financed by the European Union and published in the journal Emerging Infectious Disease examined animals sold for human consumption at multiple venues and roadside stalls in Laos.
More than twenty percent of the animals examined tested positive for zoonotic illnesses, which originate in animals and have the ability to infect humans and even trigger a pandemic.