Dozens of people in China have been infected with a new animal-derived virus called Langia, scientists said, but have ruled out the risk of transmission from one person to another at this stage.
The Langia virus causes symptoms in humans such as fever, fatigue, cough, nausea and headache.
Scientists believe the shrew, a small mouse-like mammal, may be the animal that allowed the virus to spread to humans.
Cases have been reported in the Chinese provinces of Shandong and Henan.
And 35 people have been infected in China, according to a report published in early August by the leading US medical journal, the New England Journal of Medicine.
The report highlights that the patients, most of whom were farmers, had neither “close contact” nor “co-exposure” to any of the pathogens, suggesting “sporadic” infections between people.
According to the report, some of them suffered from a defect in blood cells, while others suffered from a defect in liver and kidney function.
The Langia virus was first detected in 2018.
But this time, the virus has been officially identified thanks to a system that detects acute fever and a history of contact with animals.
Scientists believe that at this stage it is premature to comment on the possibility of transmission of this virus from one person to another, given the small number of infections.
More research is needed to better understand the illnesses associated with the virus, according to researchers from China, Singapore and Australia who contributed to the report.
Virologist Linfa Wang of the Duke-NUS Medical College in Singapore, one of the authors of the report, told the Global Times that no serious or fatal cases of the Langia virus have been reported so far.