Beijing, Aug 9 (EFE).- A new strain of henipavirus originating from animals has infected 35 people in two Chinese provinces, the state-run media reported on Tuesday, bringing back the horrifying memories of the coronavirus outbreak that started in China in 2019.
The Langya henipavirus has been found in the eastern Shandong and central Henan provinces, Global Times newspaper said.
According to the newspaper, none of the cases was serious, citing research done by scientists from China and Singapore and published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM).
The novel virus was found in throat swab samples from patients with symptoms of fever.
The infected patients had a recent history of contact with animals.
The researchers noted people infected by the virus show symptoms including fever, fatigue, cough, anorexia, myalgia, and nausea.
Henipavirus can cause severe diseases in animals and humans.
It is classified as a biosafety Level 4 virus with case fatality rates between 40-75 percent, data from the World Health Organization (WHO) showed.
It is much higher than the fatality rate of the coronavirus.
There is currently no vaccine or treatment for henipavirus.
So far, none of the henipavirus infections have been fatal or very serious.
“There is no need for panic,” Wang Linfa, a professor in the Programme in Emerging Infectious Diseases at Duke-NUS Medical School, was quoted as saying by the Global Times.
Wang was involved in the study.
He said it was still a cause for alert as many viruses that exist in nature have unpredictable results when they infect humans.
No significant virus clustering has been detected in China till now, meaning that human-to-human transmission is not proven.
But previous reports suggest that the virus can be transmitted from person to person.
“Coronavirus will not be the last infectious disease to cause a pandemic worldwide,” said Wang Xinyu, Deputy Chief Physician at the department of Infectious Diseases of Huashan Hospital.