While India fights the coronavirus, ICMR scientists warn that the deadly cat que virus from China could infect people in India. It has infected many people in China already.
The cat que virus is an arthropod-borne virus or ‘arbovirus’. In China and Vietnam, the virus was also present in culex mosquitoes and pigs. In humans, it causes fatal diseases like, febrile illnesses, meningitis, and paediatric encephalitis.
Two serum samples with antibodies against cat que virus suggest few infections
The presence of the virus in mosquitoes worried scientists here. Therefore, they decided to check the human serum samples across India for antibodies against the virus. Scientists at National Institute of Virology (NIV) ICMR, Pune checked samples thereafter and found anti-CQV IgG antibodies in 2 of 883 samples. The 2 samples are from Karnataka in 2014 and 2017. This indicates that at least a small number of people suffered from the infection. Scientists say the Cat-Que virus was not found in any person’s body so far. However, antibodies only formed if they do have the infection at some point.
Scientists also tested the susceptibility and replication kinetics of the virus in three species of mosquitoes: Ae. aegypti, Cx. quinquefasciatus and Cx. Tritaeniorhynchus.
In India, the virus was in the jungle Myna. It was also in the host, swine or domestic pigs. Hence, ICMR says that the virus can be possibly a public health pathogen in India.
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