The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has warned entry of another virus from China to India. The pathogen called the “cat que virus” (CQV) has the potential to spread easily in India according to a research conducted the council’s National Institute of Virology.
What is cat que virus?
Cat que virus is found in Culex mosquitoes and pigs and falls under the category of Arthropod-borne viruses. The presence of this virus has been largely reported in China and Vietnam.
If the pathogen reaches humans through either of these species, it can cause health issues like febrile illnesses (high fever), meningitis (inflammation of the meninges), and paediatric encephalitis (inflammation of the brain).
How is this a threat?
NIV conducted a study to understand the replication kinetics of this virus in India as similar species of Culex mosquitoes have been spreading in the nation. Human samples, along with three different species of mosquitoes and pigs were tested. During the test, the team did not find any active CQV virus in human samples, but discovered antibodies for the pathogen in two of 883 human serum samples, indicating that those people have recovered from CQV virus in the past.
As for the three species of mosquitoes put under study, the team found that all three species supported the multiplication of cat que intrathoracic as well as artificial membrane/oral feeding routes.
The species, as the scientists identified, were Aedes aegypti, Culex quinquefasciatus, and Cx. tritaeniorhynchus.
In light of these findings, the team has suggested that CQV could spread through certain infected mosquitoes in India.
“Anti-CQV IgG antibody positivity in human serum samples tested and the replication capability of CQV in mosquitoes indicated a possible disease-causing potential of CQV in Indian scenario,” the scientists said in the study published in the Indian Journal of Medical Research.
“Screening of more human and swine serum samples using these assays is required as a proactive measure for understanding the prevalence of this neglected tropical virus,” they wrote in the study.