Amid the ongoing coronavirus outbreak which is causing COVID-19, a new virus which has the potential to reach India, Cat que virus, emerged, largely reported in China.
This virus is one of the arthropod-borne viruses which can cause febrile illnesses, meningitis, and paediatric encephalitis in humans.
In China and Vietnam, the presence of the CQV has been reported in Culex mosquitoes and pigs.
In 2014 and 2017 two human samples were tested positive for the presence of anti-CQV IgG antibodies from Karnataka.
“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. 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,” said the ICMR.
ICMR scientists reported that vector availability, primary host(swine) and confirmation of CQV from Jungle myna imports the potential of this orthobunyavirus as a public health pathogen in India. This led them to develop molecular and serological tests for CQV, screening of host population (human and swine) and its replication kinetics in mosquitoes as part of preparedness against the likely emergence of Cat Que Virus.
Susceptibility and replication kinetic experiments were done by scientists using three different species of mosquitoes in order to have an understanding of its behaviour in Indian mosquitoes.
“Data showed that Indian mosquitoes (Ae. aegypti, Cx. quinquefasciatus and Cx. tritaeniorhynchus) were susceptible to CQV,” the ICMR study said.
According to ICMR, CQV has been isolated and reported from its natural host, mosquito (culex tritaeniorhynchus), but the role of birds as a host or vector for CQV transmission and report of human infection with CQV are not documented. Domestic pigs are the primary mammalian host of CQV and antibodies against the virus have been reported in swine reared locally in China, indicating that CQV has formed a natural cycle in local areas.