New Chinese virus has “alarmingly high” mortality rate

Writing in the New England Journal of Medicine, scientists explain how a previously unknown and dangerous virus carried by tics has been responsible for seasonal outbreaks of the disease in six of China’s most populated provinces.

The disease first came to attention five years ago, when large numbers of farmers in central China began falling victim to a mysterious disease marked by high fever, gastrointestinal disorder and a mortality rate initially estimated at 30 percent.

Chinese investigators initially concluded that it had been caused by human granulocytic anaplasmosis (HGA), a bacteria transmitted by tick bites. Now, however, subsequent research has shown this to be incorrect, and that a previously unknown virus has been responsible.

“We expected to find a bacterial infection behaving in an unexpected way – human anaplasmosis has a less than one percent fatality rate in the U.S., and it rarely causes abdominal pain or vomiting or diarrhea,” said Dr. Xue-Jie Yu of the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, lead author of the paper detailing the discovery. “Instead, we found an unknown virus.”

The newly discovered pathogen has been dubbed Severe Fever with Thrombocytopenia Syndrome virus. It has been placed in the Bunyaviridae family, along with the hantaviruses and Rift Valley Fever virus.

Yu, a specialist in tick-borne diseases, first suspected that a virus might be responsible for the outbreaks after close examination of patients’ clinical data showed big differences from symptoms produced by HGA, and blood sera drawn from patients revealed no HGA or HGA antibodies.

Yu became certain that a virus was at fault after sera taken from patients retained its ability to kill cells, despite being passed through a filter that blocked all bacteria. Still, initial genetic tests failed to generate a match with a known pathogen. “Clearly, we had a virus, but what virus?” Yu said. “I told the people I was working with that they needed to be even more careful, because we were working with an unknown.”

That caution seemed appropriate when electron microscope studies of deactivated virus particles revealed what appeared to be a hantavirus. But when Yu and his colleagues managed to extract the virus’ entire genetic code, they found that it didn’t match any other known virus.

Tellingly, the scientists found the new virus in 10 out of 186 ticks collected from farm animals in the area where the patients lived. “This seems to be a tick-borne disease, and the disease comes out when the ticks come out, from late March to late July,” Yu said. “Fortunately, even though the full life cycle is not clear, we know that for the virus humans are a dead end – we don’t have human-to-human transmission as we did with SARS.”

Related:
Biodiversity now a public health issue
Big Problems From Small Avian Flu Mutations
Key HIV/SARS Mechanism Revealed

Source: University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston

, ,

Comments are closed.

Florida’s Finest Corona Virus Challenge Coin picture

Florida’s Finest Corona Virus Challenge Coin

$10.00



1985 Topps OS1 Garbage Pail Kids Series 1 Virus Iris 21a Matte Card PSA 9 MINT picture

1985 Topps OS1 Garbage Pail Kids Series 1 Virus Iris 21a Matte Card PSA 9 MINT

$199.95



1985 Topps Garbage Pail Kids OS1 Series 1 VIRUS IRIS 21a GLOSSY Card PSA 8 GPK picture

1985 Topps Garbage Pail Kids OS1 Series 1 VIRUS IRIS 21a GLOSSY Card PSA 8 GPK

$132.95



The Media Is The Virus Sticker Conservative  Bumper Sticker political stickers picture

The Media Is The Virus Sticker Conservative Bumper Sticker political stickers

$3.99



Virus #1-4 Dark Horse Comics 1993 Complete Set FN/VF-VF 7.0-8.0 or Better picture

Virus #1-4 Dark Horse Comics 1993 Complete Set FN/VF-VF 7.0-8.0 or Better

$10.39



Dark Horse Virus Complete Set NM 1993 picture

Dark Horse Virus Complete Set NM 1993

$19.99



FCBD SPIDER-MAN VENOM #1 2023 2022 2021 2020 2019 set (5) CARNAGE 1st app VIRUS picture

FCBD SPIDER-MAN VENOM #1 2023 2022 2021 2020 2019 set (5) CARNAGE 1st app VIRUS

$15.96



ACTION COMICS #363 1968 VF+ 8.5 NEAL ADAMS Cover SUPERMAN VIRUS X LEPER DEATH picture

ACTION COMICS #363 1968 VF+ 8.5 NEAL ADAMS Cover SUPERMAN VIRUS X LEPER DEATH

$44.99



2020 GARBAGE PAIL KIDS SAPPHIRE PINK REFRACTOR 21A - VIRUS IRIS  picture

2020 GARBAGE PAIL KIDS SAPPHIRE PINK REFRACTOR 21A - VIRUS IRIS

$399.95



Apі complex

Apі complex "Stop virus" beekeeping product antivirus 100% natural from Ukraine

$89.00



Powered by WordPress. Designed by WooThemes