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Nikhil Prasad  Fact checked by:Thailand Medical News Team Jan 03, 2024  1 month, 3 weeks, 14 hours, 48 minutes ago

BREAKING Medical News! Newly Discovered Sand Fly Viruses In China Are Able To Infect Animals And Humans, Posing Health Risk!

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BREAKING Medical News! Newly Discovered Sand Fly Viruses In China Are Able To Infect Animals And Humans, Posing Health Risk!
Nikhil Prasad  Fact checked by:Thailand Medical News Team Jan 03, 2024  1 month, 3 weeks, 14 hours, 48 minutes ago
Medical News: In a groundbreaking development, medical researchers in China have uncovered a new viral threat originating from sand flies. The National Institute for Viral Disease Control and Prevention-Beijing, Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, along with Yangzhou University and various regional disease control centers, have identified two newly discovered Bunyaviruses - Hedi virus (HEDV) and Wuxiang virus (WUXV) - transmitted by sandflies. These viruses have shown the potential to infect both animals and humans, raising concerns about long-term health implications.

The Bunyavirus
For those who are not aware, Thailand Medical News would like to remind readers that among the notorious viruses that causes severe diseases from the Bunyavirus family are: Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever virus (CCHFV), Lassa virus (LASV), Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV), Severe fever with thromobocytopenia syndrome virus (SFTSV), Sin Nombre virus (SNV), La Crosse virus (LACV) and Oropouche virus (OROV).
Background and Discovery
HEDV and WUXV were initially isolated from sandflies in the Shanxi Province in 2018, indicating an expanding geographical distribution. Molecular genetic analyses have classified these viruses within the Bunyavirales order and Phenuiviridae family, belonging to a newly identified genus of Phlebovirus. These enveloped, negative-sense RNA viruses possess unique spherical morphology with genomes comprising three segments - S, M, and L. The viruses were first isolated from Phlebotomus chinensis, and subsequent studies have shown their prevalence in various regions.
Clinical Implications
While there have been no reported diseases caused by these viruses, research highlights potential risks, especially concerning WUXV. Studies have demonstrated WUXV's ability to replicate and induce neurological symptoms, even leading to death in mice.
Additionally, the newly conducted seroepidemiological study reveals a concerning prevalence of HEDV and WUXV infections in mammals, including dogs and chickens, as well as humans. Notably, the positive rate of HEDV infections was higher in local animals compared to human specimens.
Research Methods and Findings
To understand the infection status of HEDV and WUXV, researchers conducted a serological study using Western blotting to detect IgG antibodies in serum samples from febrile patients, dogs, and chickens in affected regions. Results showed widespread infections of HEDV and WUXV in mammals and humans from the isolated regions, with higher infection rates observed in local animals compared to humans.
Structural Analysis and Hybridization
Further analysis included the expression, purification, and identification of recombinant HEDV-N protein. The homology analysis and tertiary structure comparison of WUXV-N and HEDV-N revealed structural differences and distinct surface charge distributions. Hybridization of the N proteins with human and animal serum specimens confirmed the presence of antibodies against HEDV and WUXV in tested samples.
Discussion and Implications
The study indicates that sandflies, prevalent in warmer and more humid environments, may play a crucial role in the transmission of these viruses. Sandflies residing in human settlements and among domesticated livestock can act as vectors for these viruses, raising concerns about potential zoonotic infections. The study emphasizes the need for continued surveillance and monitoring of sandfly-transmitted viruses, particularly in regions where they exhibit high prevalence.
Challenges and Limitations
The research faced challenges, including the inability to conduct cross-neutralization tests between HEDV and the medically significant Rift Valley Fever virus (RVFV). Moreover, limitations such as the lack of detailed information on the collection months for certain samples and the absence of data on the health status of animals underscore the need for further comprehensive studies.
In conclusion, the discovery of HEDV and WUXV infections in humans, dogs, and chickens in affected regions raises concerns about the potential health risks posed by sandfly-transmitted viruses. The study underscores the importance of ongoing surveillance and research to better understand the relationship between these viruses and diseases in both humans and animals. Strengthening the detection and monitoring of sandfly-transmitted viruses holds significant public health implications, not only for China but also for East Asia. The findings provide a crucial reference for future studies on vector-borne viral infections and zoonotic infections beyond China's borders.
The study findings were published in the peer reviewed journal: Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology.
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