We live in times when new virus outbreaks are occurring which makes for scary news. In such times, it is important to have complete knowledge about the virus outbreaks. Being informed ensures there is no fearmongering. It also ensures we are protected against such virus outbreaks.
After the Coronavirus and Monkeypox virus outbreaks, the latest virus to be in the news is the Langya virus. Like the other two viruses, the Langya virus in China is also an animal virus that has infected many people raising concerns.
We tell you all you need to know about the Langya Virus origin, its symptoms, and how to remain safe from the virus.
What is the origin of the Langya Virus?
Langya virus is biologically known as Langya henipavirus. Also referred to as LayV, the name of the virus is based on the Langya Commandery which is based in Shandong in China.
If you wanted to know what is the new virus in China, the answer is the Langya virus. Langya virus in Chinese is known as Langya Bingdu. The virus is in the news after it infected around 35 people living in the Shandong and Henan provinces of China.
The origin of the virus is from China. To be precise, it originated from East China. It is not a very new virus and incidents were reported in 2018. It was only recently that scientists have formally identified the virus. Langya virus NEJM was named by researchers from China, Singapore, and Australia who wrote a letter to NEJM (New England Journal of Medicine).
The source of this virus is believed to be the shrew, mole-like animals. While the virus is also found in goats and dogs, a study showed that 27% shrews tested had the virus.
Cases involving Langya Virus
Cases involving the Langya virus have been reported in around 35 people from 2018 to date. The people suffered from fever and related symptoms. While 9 people had other sources of infection, 26 of the infected had only the Langya virus in them. This allowed scientists to conclude that the source of their infection was the Langya virus.
It is believed that the virus has spread from shrews to humans. It is believed that all the infected people got this virus from shrews. The infected people have not been in contact with each other. This has helped scientists to believe that the virus may not be transmitted from human to human contact.
Based on the current data of cases, the cases are so far restricted to two provinces in Eastern China. There is nothing to suggest that the cases have spread to other parts of China or any other countries. The good news is that there have been no deaths due to this virus.
What are the symptoms of the Langya Virus?
Information about the symptoms of the Langya virus is available based on reports from the 26 people who had the Langya virus. The details of Langya virus symptoms are as follows:
- Fever was the prime symptom with every one of these infected experiencing it.
- The second most common symptom experienced was fatigue with around 54% of people reporting it.
- Nearly half of all those infected suffered from cough.
- Muscle ache and pain were other symptoms reported by 46% of those infected.
- Nausea was a symptom experienced (38% reported this symptom).
- Headache was reported by 35% of patients.
- Vomiting was a symptom experienced by 35% of patients.
Blood tests done on the patients revealed that 54% of them had lesser white blood cells that could fight the virus (leukopenia). 35% had low platelets (thrombocytopenia). 35% of patients had problems with liver function while 8% had impaired kidney function.
How To Avoid Getting Langya Virus?
Before looking at prevention measures, we must understand how is Langya virus transmitted. Based on the information available, the Langya virus is transmitted from animal to human. The shrew is most likely responsible for spreading the virus. There is no report of the infection spreading from human to human.
This doesn’t mean we should be complacent, since the virus is also found in common animals like dogs and goats. There is always a possibility of the virus mutating. Hence, we need to exercise care to ensure we don’t get infected.
There are many measures you can take to avoid getting infected. The same precautions taken to avoid the Coronavirus hold good for the Langya virus. The precautionary measures to avoid getting infected have been listed out below.
1) Social Distancing
The term social distancing became popular due to the Corona pandemic. Social or physical distancing refers to distancing oneself from others to prevent getting infected. It may not be possible to practice this at all times. However, certain basic precautions can be observed:
- Where possible, one must try and maintain a physical distance of 6 feet from others.
- It is advisable to avoid places with too many people or a lot of rush. Where it is inevitable to visit such places, wearing is mask is a must.
- If you are not well, then you must wear a mask. You must also avoid going out, especially to public places.
- If someone you know is not well, try to maintain distance and avoid contact with them.
- In case you have symptoms like fever and cough, you are advised to self-quarantine. Do not leave your house until you get an all-clear from a doctor.
2) Wear Protective Mask
Wearing a mask is the best way to protect yourself from viruses. Wearing a good quality KN95 mask or KF94 mask helps to keep out viruses. Whenever you leave your house, ensure you have your mask on. It is important to wear the mask properly, so it covers your mouth and nose well.
You can buy the best surgical mask Singapore to keep yourself protected. Ideally, you need a 3-ply surgical mask for the best protection. If you have run out of masks, visit Wistech’s website and order the best K95 Mask Singapore or KF94 Mask Singapore.
3) Maintain Hygiene
It is vital to maintain proper hygiene to prevent infections. This is not just for COVID or the Langya virus but is a general good practice. Ensuring good personal hygiene can help us avoid getting infected with pathogens. It is the best way to be healthy and enhance immunity.
Some of the measures you can take to maintain proper hygiene include:
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water. Use a sanitizer product if you don’t have access to soap. Ensure you wash your hands before you eat or after you interact with others. When you have touched surfaces in public, clean your hands by washing them. Make sure to wash after using public toilets.
- If you sneeze, blow your nose, or cough use tissue paper and cover your face. This helps prevent droplets from spreading. Ensure you throw away the tissue paper into a dustbin (after wrapping it in another tissue paper).
- Avoid sharing food with others. Never share a spoon or utensil with others, unless it has been thoroughly washed.
- Avoid unnecessary physical contact with others.
4) Keep yourself updated about news regarding Langya Virus
The best way to fight pandemics is by being informed. When we do not have sufficient information, we tend to panic. We also tend to believe messages being circulated on social media, most of which are unsubstantiated. There is also a tendency to ignore all warning messages and stop taking precautions. Both these situations are not good.
We need to be updated about news related to new viruses. As of date, the Langya virus is not causing deaths. It is also not spreading fast from human to human. But we do not know what would happen in the future. It is important that we follow news related to the virus.
Keep visiting reliable websites of newspapers, scientific magazines, and credible health websites. This will help you find information related to the virus. If there are any new developments, you can come to know of them and take necessary action.
Is Langya Virus something to be worried about
From all the information that we have, it seems to be clear that the Langya virus spreads from animals to humans. At present, it does not spread from human to human. Furthermore, the virus’s presence is restricted to Eastern China. There have been no deaths reported. However, all viruses do undergo mutations and these mutations can allow the virus to spread from one human to another.
There is a possibility that the Langya virus could become a threat. But at present, the virus is not a major threat. We need not be unduly worried about it. That doesn’t mean we let down our guard. Since COVID-19 has still not gone away, it is advisable to continue to take precautions. Make sure you wear a good quality mask when you go out, so you can remain safe.
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