To date, 35 people have been infected with Langya henipavirus (LayV) across two provinces in eastern China.
Sanjaya Senanayake, a specialist in infectious diseases and associate professor of medicine at the Australian National University, said cases should be tracked closely.
LayV is a henipavirus, with two other deadly viruses members of the same family.
“The reason to be vigilant about this virus is that it is a henipavirus, which comes from the same family as Hendra and Nipah, both of which have caused deaths in humans,” he said.
“Nipah has also been associated with person-to-person transmission.”
“Regarding this infection, it is still early days but there are some reassuring signs,” he says.
“Namely, that there haven’t been deaths or many serious illnesses from it.
Taiwan’s Centres for Disease Control is monitoring the spread of the virus.
Senanayake said he was not surprised about the emergence of the novel virus.
“Over the last five decades, there have been around 50 new infections described,” he said.
“The vast majority, such as LayV, monkeypox and COVID-19, are viruses that have jumped from the animal to the human world.”
Those majority of the patients infected with the virus have contact with animals.
Symptoms of LayV include: fever, fatigue, a cough, loss of appetite, muscle pain, nausea, headache and vomiting.