Cat Que Virus? – ICMR warns of another virus from China

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has warned of the danger that is being posed by another virus that have been found in China named ‘Cat Que Virus’ (CQV).  ICMR warns that the virus has potential to spread diseases all across India.

Key Facts

  • The virus may cause febrile illnesses, meningitis and paediatric encephalitis among humans.
  • Antibodies for the virus were found in two out of the 883 human serum samples taken from Indian states while doing the research at the National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune.  This shows that these people have been infected with the virus.
  • The two samples that were tested positive for CQV antibodies belong to Karnataka from 2014 and 2017.

Why India should worry?

As per the ICMR study, Indian mosquitoes are susceptible to CQV. This could also become a public health pathogen. These virus have been spotted in culex mosquitoes and pigs across China and Vietnam. It is a cause of concern for India since India is also home to species of culex mosquitoes.

Cat Que Virus

Cat Que virus (CQV) is a simbu serogroup virus of the genus Orthobunyavirus of family Bunyaviridae. It was first isolated in 2004 from mosquitoes during surveillance of arbovirus activity in northern Vietnam. Its natural host is a mosquito called Culex tritaeniorhynchus. Apart from that, domestic pigs are also considered the primary mammalian host.

Culex tritaeniorhynchus

Culex tritaeniorhynchus which is commonly called as Culex is a species of mosquito. It is the main vector of the disease called Japanese encephalitis and also  cause West Nile fever, St. Louis encephalitis and viral diseases in birds and horses. The mosquito is a native of northern Asia, northeast and sub-Saharan Africa. Female mosquitoes are strongly anthropophilic which usually target large animals like cattle and swine for blood extraction.