Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has warned about the emergence of a new virus called cat que virus (CQV), which can be found in pigs and mosquitoes. ICMR has warned that the virus, which has been reported in pigs and culex mosquitoes in China and Vietnam, is a threat for the people in India.
Out of the 883 human samples collected by scientists at National Institute of Virology, two have been found to have antibodies for the virus. Here is all that you need to know about the cat que virus.
· It is an arthropod-borne virus which means that it can spread through the bite of an infected culex mosquito. This species of mosquitoes is found in India.
· Pigs are considered the primary mammalian host of CQV.
· It was first isolated in the year 2004 in northern Vietnam from mosquitoes during the surveillance of arbovirus activity in acute paediatric encephalitis.
· CQV causes several diseases like meningitis (inflammation of meninges, which are membranes in the brain and spinal cord), febrile illnesses. It also causes paediatric encephalitis which is inflammation of the brain in children. This can affect the alertness of the child’s brain and can cause seizures.
· In 1961, a virus was taken out from the sample of a Jungle Myna in Sagar, Karnataka. In the year 2016, it was identified that the virus found in that creature was indeed CQV.
· The anti-CQV antibodies have been found in India in two human samples, which were collected from Karnataka in 2014 and 2017. This means that the two people were infected with the virus at some point and now have antibodies.
At a time when India is battling the spread of the coronavirus, the ICMR warning raises concern because emergence of a new virus can burden the already struggling health infrastructure in the country.
In India, 61 lakh people have been infected by Covid-19 and over 96,000 people have died due to the disease.