It is called Langya and comes from China: it is the new virus that has infected at least 35 people in the Asian country since 2018.

It belongs to the Henipavirus family, the same to which the Hendra and Nipah viruses belong, both with high lethality.

From the first reported data, it seems that it does not have the ability to spread effectively in humans and that it is even less aggressive than its close relatives. The information was reported by researchers from various Chinese institutions in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The investigation that led to the identification of Langya started with a 53-year-old patient hospitalized at the end of 2018 for fever and other flu-like symptoms in a Chinese hospital where surveillance for potentially animal infections was active. Since then, 35 patients infected with the virus have been identified in Shandong and Henan provinces. Among the 26 patients infected with the Langya virus alone and whose clinical conditions the researchers report, all had fever, about half suffered from fatigue, cough, anorexia, muscle pain, lack of white blood cells; one third had nausea, headache, vomiting, platelet deficiency, impaired liver function; less than 1 in 10 kidney problems. But none of the 26 died.

"There was no close contact or common exposure history among patients, suggesting that infection in the human population may be sporadic," the researchers write.

(Unioneonline / ss)

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