Langya Henipavirus (LayV): Everything You Need To Know About The Recent Outbreak In China


Eileen Conroy,Aug. 12, 2022 12:33 pm EST,245

China has been experiencing an outbreak of Langya henipavirus, also known as LayV or Langya virus, a viral infection that causes flu-like symptoms in patients (via WebMD). LayV is considered a zoonotic disease, meaning it spreads from animals to humans (via Healthline). The most common symptom in patients with the Langya virus is fever, per Healthline. Additional symptoms include fatigue, muscle aches and pains, headache, coughing, nausea, and vomiting. Some people affected by LayV also developed pneumonia (via Healthline).

Currently, there is no treatment or vaccine for the Langya virus. However, according to WebMD, an antiviral medication called ribavirin may help treat patients — it has previously been successfully used for viral infections that do not otherwise have a treatment.

The Langya henipavirus has not yet caused any deaths as of yet, and only a small population has been infected thus far. Medical experts are keeping a close eye on any developments, per Healthline.

A closer look at China's LayV outbreak

The Langya henipavirus started in 2018. So far, it has infected less than 40 people, according to a study about the outbreak published in The New England Journal of Medicine (via Healthline). Researchers took samples from various animals around the villages where patients were living at the time they were infected. They found that the virus mostly came from shrews, which look similar to mice (via Healthline).

So far, it doesn't seem that there has been any human-to-human transmission of the virus, but researchers point out that this could always change if more people become infected. "Each time that happens, the virus presumably has a chance — perhaps only a small chance, but a chance nonetheless — to adapt within its new human host and become better able to transmit to other people," Dr. Benhur Lee, a professor of microbiology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, explained via Healthline. "The concern is that with enough chances, eventually we will get unlucky and a virus will adapt in just the right way to cause a serious outbreak."