Warning as brand new virus is detected in China

A new virus that may have been passed on from a shrew has been spotted in 35 people in China. The Langya virus belongs to a family of pathogens that are known to kill up to three quarters of humans in severe cases.

None of the cases in the Far East so far have resulted in people dying, although patients have been left with flu-like symptoms.

These included a fever, tiredness, cough, headache and vomiting.

The Taiwanese Centers for Disease Control has issued a warning about the virus found in Henan and Shandong provinces in east China.

The virus has never been spotted in humans before and experts believe it was passed on by other animals.

Langya virus has been spotted in 35 people in China  (pictured, an illustration of Nipah virus, a related virus)

The virus has never been spotted in humans before and experts believe it was passed on by shrews

Chinese researchers found the virus in 71 of 262 shrews — a small mole-like mammal — surveyed in the two Chinese provinces where the outbreak started.

They published their findings on the virus, also known as LayV, in a study in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The paper said: ‘There was no close contact or common exposure history among the patients, which suggests that the infection in the human population may be sporadic.

‘Contact tracing of nine patients with 15 close-contact family members revealed no close-contact LayV transmission.

‘But our sample size was too small to determine the status of human-to-human transmission for LayV.’

Langya is hepinavirus — the same family as Nipah virus, which is a deadly pathogen that is usually found in bats.

Like Covid, Nipah can spread through respiratory droplets. But it is far more deadly, killing up to three-quarters of people it infects.

It has been listed as one of the viruses most likely to cause the next pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO).

There is currently no Nipah vaccine approved for humans — but at least eight are currently being tested on animals, including one made by Oxford University.

The most common symptom suffered by Langya patients was fever, with all people infected coming down with a temperature.

It was followed by fatigue (54 per cent), cough (50 percent), loss of appetite (50 per cent), muscle aches (46 per cent) and feeling queasy (38 per cent).

Around 35 per cent suffered liver problems while 8 per cent saw a fall in kidney function.

Alongside shrews, the virus was also spotted in dogs (5 per cent) and goats (2 per cent).

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