Newly identified Langya virus infects 35 in Eastern China

Researchers are tracking an emerging animal-derived virus in eastern China which has been identified in 35 people.

Langya henipavirus (LayV), also known as Langya virus, is a species of henipavirus.

The name of the virus in Chinese  Lángyá bìngdú) refers to Langya Commandery, a historical commandery in present-day Shandong, China.

Langya henipavirus affects species including humans, dogs, goats, and its presumed original host, shrews.

In people, the virus caused symptoms including fever, fatigue, cough, loss of appetite and muscle aches.

Initial investigations into the virus were outlined in correspondence published by scientists from China, Singapore and Australia in NEJM.

The researchers tested wild animals and found LayV viral RNA in more than a quarter of 262 shrews, “a finding that suggests that the shrew may be a natural reservoir”

The virus was also detected in 2% of domestic goats and 5% of dogs.

Scientists sequenced the LayV genome and determined it was a henipavirus, a category of zoonotic RNA viruses that also includes Hendra virus and Nipah virus.