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In a study published in the Indian Journal of Medical Research, scientists from the Pune-based Maximum Containment Laboratory and ICMR-National Institute of Virology have noted the presence of antibodies against the Cat Que virus (CQV) in two human serum samples.
What is the Cat Que virus?
- For CQV, domestic pigs are considered to be the primary mammalian hosts. Antibodies against the virus have been reported in swine reared locally in China, which indicates that the virus has formed a “natural cycle” in the local area and has the ability to spread in pigs and other animal populations through mosquitoes.
- A paper published in the journal Vector Borne and Zoonotic Diseases in 2015 says that CQV belongs to the Simbu serogroup and infects both humans and economically important livestock species.
- It was first isolated in 2004 from mosquitoes during the surveillance of arbovirus activity in northern Vietnam. In this study, researchers reported a CQV strain (SC0806), which was isolated from mosquito samples collected in China in 2006 and 2008.
How can humans get infected and is there a cause for concern?
- Humans can get infected through mosquitoes as well. In the study, scientists note that because of positivity in human serum samples and the replication capability of CQV in mosquitoes, there is only a “possible disease-causing potential” of CQV in the Indian scenario.
- Further, “Availability of vector, primary mammalian host (swine) and confirmation of CQV from jungle myna signifies the potential of this Orthobunyavirus as a public health pathogen in India,” the study says” (CQV belongs to the genus Orthobunyavirus).
So, is this virus dangerous?
- It is not clear. Other viruses that belong to the same genus as CQV and are similarly transmitted through mosquitoes include the Cache valley virus that can cause meningitis, the La Crosse virus that can cause paediatric encephalitis, the Jamestown Canyon virus that causes Jamestown Canyon encephalitis and the Guaroa virus that causes febrile illness.