New virus infects 35 people in China: 4 things to know

A new virus has appeared to jump from animals to humans for the first time, infecting 35 people in China, according to a research letter published Aug. 4 in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Four things to know:

1. A team led by researchers at the Beijing Institute of Microbiology and Epidemiology identified Langya henipavirus, or LayV, in 35 patients in Eastern China between 2018 and 2021, all of whom had a recent history of animal exposure, according to NBC News. In 26 patients, LayV was the only potential pathogen detected. 

2. Only two other henipaviruses — Hendra virus and Nipah virus — are known to infect humans. Until now, the remainder of viruses in the genus have only been detected in bats, rodents and shrews.

3. In this case, researchers suspect LayV may have jumped from shrews to humans. There is no clear evidence that the virus can spread among humans, though researchers said their sample size is too small to offer a definitive answer on transmission risks. 

4. The most common symptoms among patients with a LayV infection were fever, fatigue, cough, loss of appetite, nausea, headaches and vomiting. No patients have died from their infections, according to Forbes

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