As the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic appears to be waning, humanity faces a new potential large-scale danger. A recently discovered virus, bearing similarities to COVID-19, has emerged as a cause for concern.
The virus, known as Langya henipavirus (LayV), has been identified in China. It belongs to the paramyxoviridae family, which includes viruses like Nipah and Hendra. LayV is believed to have originated in shrews and has been associated with a small number of human cases in eastern China.
Initially found in 2018 among a group of farmers in eastern China who had come into contact with shrews, the Langya virus is suspected to have originated from these animals. Since then, China has reported a total of 35 cases of Langya virus infection, with 26 cases confirmed through laboratory testing.
Dr. Ariel Isaacs, a researcher at the University of Queensland’s School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences in Australia, has cautioned that further instances of transmission from animals to humans could be expected over time.
“It is crucial that we comprehend the inner workings of these emerging viruses,” Dr. Isaacs emphasized, as reported by FORTUNE Well.com.
Symptoms of LayV infection resemble those of other henipaviruses and may include fever, cough, fatigue, headache, nausea, vomiting, and respiratory distress. In severe cases, LayV infection can be fatal.
As of now, there have been no reported deaths from Langya virus infection. However, given its recent discovery, the severity of the virus remains unknown.
The World Health Organization (WHO) is closely monitoring the situation and advising countries to remain vigilant regarding the potential spread of the Langya virus. While there is no specific treatment for LayV infection, supportive care can help manage the symptoms.
There is currently no evidence suggesting easy human-to-human transmission of LayV. Nonetheless, scientists are actively studying the virus, as it may pose a future threat.
To protect yourself from LayV infection, consider the following precautions:
- Avoid contact with sick animals, particularly shrews.
- Wash your hands regularly with soap and water.
- Steer clear of individuals experiencing respiratory illnesses.
- If you are unwell, stay home from work or school and limit contact with others.