Langya virus has been recently identified in a few people in China. It can cause fever and flu-like symptoms but doesn’t seem to cause severe illness. It isn’t transmitted from person to person, but it can be similar to more serious viral infections.

Langya virus is a newly identified virus. So far, only 35 people in China have been confirmed as having the Langya virus.

People with Langya virus experience fever and a variety of other flu-like symptoms. While some complications have been observed, Langya virus doesn’t appear to cause severe illness. To date, no deaths have been reported.

This article will take a closer look at what’s known so far about Langya virus symptoms, potential complications, and how the virus may be transmitted.

Overall, Langya virus causes fever and flu-like symptoms. There aren’t currently any specific symptoms that help to distinguish Langya virus from other common viral respiratory infections.

Additionally, documented cases of Langya virus are still very rare, with only 35 confirmed cases reported at the time of this article. Because of this, we know very little about this virus.

So far, symptoms that have occurred in 50% or more of people with Langya virus are:

Less common symptoms have included:

There have also been other findings in people with Langya virus, such as:

It’s unclear exactly how Langya virus symptoms progress. However, a higher viral load appears to be associated with more severe illness. The initial 2022 report on the virus reported that individuals with pneumonia had higher viral loads than those who didn’t develop pneumonia.

Quick facts about Langya virus

Here are a few fast facts about what we know about Langya virus so far:

  • Langya virus has only been documented in the Shandong and Hunan provinces of China at this time.
  • People with Langya virus tend to have fever and other flu-like symptoms like fatigue, cough, and muscle aches.
  • Infections with Langya virus don’t seem to cause severe illness.
  • No one is known to have died from Langya virus.
  • It appears that Langya virus is transmitted from animals to people.
  • There’s no data that shows that Langya virus spreads between people.
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It’s unclear right now exactly how Langya virus is spread. However, it’s believed to be zoonotic, meaning it’s passed from animals to humans.

So far, the animal in which Langya virus has been most detected is the shrew. Shrew species have previously been documented to carry other types of viruses, such as some types of hantaviruses.

There’s currently no evidence that Langya virus is spread from person to person. Most people who’ve contracted the virus work in professions that are more likely to be in contact with wild animals, such as farming. This suggests that contact with animals carrying the virus may lead to transmission.

Is Langya virus related to more dangerous viruses?

Langya virus is a member of the genus Henipavirus. Other prominent viruses in this genus are Hendra virus and Nipah virus.

These two viruses are also zoonotic and can cause severe, life threatening respiratory illnesses in humans. Both viruses may also lead to encephalitis, a swelling of the brain.

However, at this time, Langya virus infections do not appear to be as severe as those due to Hendra and Nipah virus.

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Some of the complications that have been reported with Langya virus include:

  • pneumonia
  • impaired liver function
  • reduced kidney function

A 2022 article notes that there’s currently no data on the severity of these complications and whether they’ve led to hospitalization. So far, no deaths have been reported due to Langya virus.

So far, Langya virus has been diagnosed by sequencing swab samples collected from the throat of people thought to have the virus. Because we know so little about Langya virus, there’s currently no specific diagnostic criteria for it.

Similar to other henipaviruses that can affect humans, there’s no specific treatment for Langya virus. Treatment is generally supportive, which involves:

  • getting rest
  • staying hydrated
  • using medications to reduce symptoms like fever and aches and pains

The antiviral drug ribavirin can help with Hendra and Nipah virus infections. However, it’s not yet known if this drug will have the same effect with Langya virus.

How can you protect yourself?

Langya virus doesn’t appear to cause serious disease. Also, very few cases of Langya virus have been reported and, currently, they’re localized to specific regions of China.

However, you can protect yourself from other zoonotic infections by doing a few simple things like:

  • washing your hands frequently with soap and water, especially after being around animals
  • avoiding unnecessary contact or interaction with wild animals
  • taking steps to prevent bites from mosquitoes and ticks, which may spread some zoonotic infections
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Langya virus is a new virus that was first identified in China. It mainly causes fever and flu-like symptoms.

Although some complications have been reported, Langya virus doesn’t appear to cause serious disease. Additionally, no deaths due to Langya virus have been recorded so far.

If you have fever or flu-like symptoms that don’t get better or get worse with at-home care, see your doctor. While Langya virus is very unlikely to be the cause, your symptoms may be due to another viral infection that needs to be addressed.