Currently, there is no cause for special concern from Langya virus in China, the Ministry of Health said in a press release on Tuesday, adding that it will closely monitor the situation regarding the virus’ progression.
In a press release after reports that the virus has been located in China, the Ministry informed the public that the new virus, which is called Langya Henipavirus (LayV), has been identified after febrile incidents were examined following exposure to animals in the eastern China district.
The new virus has been identified in 35 individuals in the Shandog and Henan districts between April 2018 and August 2021.
According to the Ministry of Health, the new virus is transmitted from animals to humans. Henipavirus is a new genus of paramyxovirus that uses protein-based receptors (EphrinB2 and EphrinB3) for virus entry.
A serosurvey of domestic animals detected seropositivity in goats (in 2% of the tested sera) and dogs (5% of the tested sera.) Wild rodent and shrew samples were tested for LayV infection. Viral RNA was detected in three rodent and two shrew species, predominantly in Crocidura lasiura shrews.
The ministry said that the main symptoms of the virus are fever, fatigue, coughing, anorexia, myalgia, nausea and headache.
It added that some patients suffered haematological disorders such as leukopenia, thrombocytopenia as well as liver and kidney function changes, with the majority of patients (85%) being predominantly farmers and most reported in a questionnaire that they had been exposed to animals within one month of the onset of their symptoms.
However, the Ministry clarified that currently, there are no indications that the virus can be spread from human to human, although this possibility cannot be ruled out. Further research will be required to understand the modes of transmission of LayV.
At the same time, no death has been reported due to Langya, which may indicate the low severity of the disease.
Meanwhile the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control has announced that based on the limited information currently available, the risk for EU citizens visiting or residing in the Shandong and Henan provinces of China, where the virus was reported, is considered very low. Similarly, the risk of infection for EU citizens in Europe is considered very low.