CDC to monitor novel virus after China infection reports

08/08/2022 09:13 PM
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A shrew. The mammal species is suspected to be a carrier of the virus. Photo by W.A. Djatmiko, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
A shrew. The mammal species is suspected to be a carrier of the virus. Photo by W.A. Djatmiko, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Taipei, Aug. 8 (CNA) Taiwan's Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has said it is paying close attention to the development of a novel Langya henipavirus (LayV) in China after reports of at least 35 infections there.

Following reports of the infections in the Chinese provinces of Shandong and Henan, the CDC will soon establish a standardized procedure for domestic laboratories to conduct genome sequencing and strengthen surveillance, CDC Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥), said at a press briefing Sunday.

Taiwan's labs will embark on establishing a standardized method for genome sequencing soon, which is expected to be completed within a week or so, Chuang said.

Update: Taiwan develops PCR-based testing process to diagnose Langya virus (Aug. 14)

Chuang said the CDC was currently focused on researching routes of transmission, adding that the CDC would team up with the Executive Yuan-level Council of Agriculture to check if similar diseases exist in species native to Taiwan.

According to Chuang, all but nine of the 35 cases in China were infected with LayV only, with symptoms such as fever, fatigue, and coughing.

However, no deaths have been reported due to LayV so far but this situation requires further monitoring, he said.

The virus, discovery of which was announced in a letter to the editor published in the New England Journal of Medicine on Aug. 4, has been predominantly detected in shrews.

According to researchers, it is not yet known if the virus can be transmitted from human to human.

LayV belongs to the Paramyxoviride family, which, according to the article on NEJM, can "infect humans and cause fatal disease."

(By Chen Chieh-ling and Ken Chao)

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