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The Langya Virus Was First Detected in 2018

Miray Aljarrah Miray Aljarrah
12th August 2022
The Langya Virus Was First Detected in 2018
Farmers were mostly infected with the virus (Getty).

The Claim

A newly detected Henipavirus family virus called "Langya" has been announced by doctors in China.

Emerging story

Social media and news outlets worldwide have been circulating news that a new virus has been detected in China. 

Social media users claimed that the new virus, known as "Langya henipa," had infected 35 people in the Chinese provinces of Shandong and Henan.

Misbar’s Analysis

Misbar investigated the circulating claim and found it to be misleading.

According to scientists, the virus was first detected in 2018, but was only formally identified last week.

Was Langya Detected Recently?

According to The Washington Post, the first case of Langya virus infection was discovered in 2018. 

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A 53-year-old Chinese farmer from Shandong province in northeastern China was the first to be infected. During the two-year period, 34 other people were exposed to the virus, the majority of which were farmers.

The virus was formerly referred to as "LayV." Between 2018 and 2021, researchers discovered “LayV” while routinely monitoring patients for potential zoonotic diseases in three hospitals in eastern China.

What Is Langya Henipavirus (Layv)? 

Researchers discovered the “LayV” virus while routinely monitoring patients for potential zoonotic diseases in three hospitals in eastern China.

Langya henipavirus is a zoonotic virus that spreads from animals to humans. 

LayV is a member of the henipavirus genus, which also includes the killer viruses Nipah and Hendra and is most closely related to the Mojiang virus, which was discovered in southern China.

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According to a team of researchers led by Xiao-Ai Zhang at the Beijing Institute of Microbiology and Epidemiology, the injuries detected between December 2018 and May 2021 were mostly from farmers in China's Chendong and Henan provinces.

The same team announced that the first symptom was fever, followed by fatigue, cough, and muscle pain, and less than half of them suffered from nausea, headache, and vomiting. More than half of them had leukopenia, and more than a third had thrombocytopenia. Some of them had liver and kidney problems, but no deaths have been reported so far.

Is the Langya Virus Dangerous? 

After testing the virus's presence in 25 different species of wild animals, scientists believe that shrews are the virus's natural incubators.

Researchers found the virus is still a cause for concern because it comes from the same family as the Nipah and Hendra viruses, which cause illness in humans and animals and result in death in 40 to 70% of cases.

Another study published in Science Direct Magazine, titled "Molecular characteristics of avian leukosis viruses isolated from indigenous chicken breeds in China," mentioned the Langya virus as a strain of Avian leukosis virus.

Professor Wang Linfa, who participated in the study that identified Langya henipavirus, told the Global Times that the cases have not been fatal or very serious so far. “There is no need for panic,” according to the scientist.


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