A scientific study revealed the detection in two Chinese provinces of 35 infections in humans of a new virus of animal origin of the Henipavirus type, state media reported today.
The cases, none of them serious, were found in Shandong (east) and Henan (center), according to the official Global Times newspaper, which cites an article published by Chinese and Singaporean scientists in the New England Journal of Medicine, one of the most prestigious medical journals in the world.
The virus, for which there are currently no vaccines or treatments, was detected through samples taken from the throat of patients who had had recent contact with animals and is associated with symptoms such as fever, tiredness, cough, loss of appetite, headaches. and muscle and nausea.
According to the newspaper, subsequent investigations revealed that 26 of the 35 patients carrying this Henipavirus developed these clinical symptoms, to which irritability and vomiting are added.
According to the state news portal The Paper, Henipavirus is one of the main emerging causes of the jump from animal to human diseases (a process called zoonosis) in the Asia-Pacific region.
Said medium indicates that one of the virus transmission vectors are fruit bats, considered natural hosts of two of the known Henipaviruses: Hendra virus (HeV) and Nipah virus (NiV).
The World Health Organization (WHO) points out that the Hendra virus causes infections in humans ranging from asymptomatic to acute respiratory infections and severe encephalitis, with an estimated fatality rate of between 40 and 75% that “may vary depending on local capacities for epidemiological research and clinical management”.
At the moment, affirms the Global Times, it has not been proven that there is transmission from person to person, although previous reports indicate that this type of contagion is not ruled out either.
“Coronavirus will not be the last contagious disease to cause a pandemic, as new diseases will have an increasing impact on the daily life of the human race,” said the deputy director of the Department of Infectious Pathology at Huashan University-affiliated hospital. of Fudan (Shanghai).