A mysterious new virus is creeping through some rural areas of China . Until recently, the cause of the disease was still unclear, but a new study may have identified the culprit as a blood-sucking bug.
Scientists from Foshan University, Guangdong Province in China have announced the discovery of a previously unknown pathogen, dubbed: ' Alongshan virus'.
The report in the New England Journal of Medicine said the scientists' findings were based on a virus sample taken from the blood of a 42-year-old female farmer with fever, headache and nausea.
After the virus was isolated, genome sequence analysis, electron microscopy showed that it was a virus that had never been recorded before. Importantly, doctors also found that women who had a history of being ticked.
So far, at least 86 people have fallen ill because of the disease, namely around the Inner Mongolia area and Heilongjiang province. Of the 86 individuals, 84 are farmers or forestry workers living in the hills or forests and working in the fields.
These insights have led researchers to find Ixodes ticks in the forest where patients were bitten. This species is actually the culprit of a wide range of tick-borne diseases, including Lyme, Babiosis and Siberian tickle and Far East. Ticks are particularly effective infectious objects, because they cling to the host and suck blood through every stage of life.
More surprisingly, evidence of viruses also appeared in mosquitoes collected in Jilin Province, which means they also cannot be completely excluded. Although this virus has only been reported to occur in northeastern China so far, researchers believe it is likely to spread elsewhere because ticks are found throughout East Asia, Siberia and Eastern Europe. and Northern Europe.
The good news is that there is no evidence that the virus can spread directly from person to person and it is relatively easy to treat.