After many human transmissions were confirmed, a mysterious ‘unknown virus’ was uncovered.
SCIENTISTS in Japan have discovered a previously unknown virus that is transmitted by ticks and can infect humans.
The infection has been given the name Yezo virus, and it is thought to be spread by tick bites. Fever, as well as a decrease in blood platelets and leucocytes, are signs of infection. The discovery was published in the journal Nature Communications by researchers from Hokkaido University in Sapporo, Japan.
At least seven people in Japan have contracted the virus since 2014, according to Keita Matsuno, a virologist at Hokkaido University’s International Institute for Zoonosis Control.
Thankfully, no deaths have been confirmed.
However, Japanese specialists feel that the virus should be studied outside of Hokkaido in order to learn more about its propagation.
“All of the cases of Yezo virus infection we know of so far have not resulted in fatalities,” Professor Matsuno said, “but it’s highly likely that the disease is prevalent beyond Hokkaido, so we need to examine its spread promptly.”
A kind of orthonairovirus has been identified as the Yezo virus.
Orthonairoviruses belong to the Nairoviridae family of pathogens that cause Crimean–Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF).
Scientists in China discovered a new type of orthonairovirus earlier this year, dubbed the Songling virus (SGLV).
Ticks bit all of the patients who were infected with Songling.
The Yezo virus was first discovered by Japanese researchers after a 41-year-old man was admitted to the hospital with a fever and leg pain.
The man was wandering through a forest in Hokkaido when he was bitten by an insect, most likely a tick.
Ticks in the area do not carry any known viruses, according to tests conducted in the hospital.
A year later, a second patient with comparable symptoms was admitted to the hospital.
The new pathogen was identified as an orthonairovirus after genetic study of the virus recovered from the patients’ blood.
After that, the virus was given the name Yezo, which is the old name for Hokkaido.
The northernmost of Japan’s main islands is Hokkaido.
Yezo appears to be related to the Romanian Sulina virus and the Uzbek Tamdy virus.
The Tamdy virus has just been discovered to cause acute fever in humans in China.
The following is what the researcher wrote in their study: “Because the epidemiology and toxicity of Tamdy and Sulina group viruses are yet unknown, these emerging viruses in Asian countries potentially pose a greater public health threat than previously thought.
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