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Langya Virus Detected In Tajikistan

by Jake William

First cases of the Langya henipavirus, also known as Langya virus, are detected in Tajikistan near the border region shared with China. 23 Tajik citizens have been sickened by this newly identified virus as they developed fever like the fever that was earlier found in eastern China.

The infected, who are mainly travelling farmers, reported respiratory symptoms, severe pneumonia, fatigue, cough, loss of appetite and aches with some developing blood-cell abnormalities and signs of liver and kidney damage. The Langya henipavirus is closely related to two other henipaviruses known to infect humans, the deadly Nipah and Hendra viruses. It affects species including humans, dogs, goats and the original hosts and carriers of the Langya virus, the shrews.

The shrew is a small mole-like mammal, a close relative of the hedgehog. It looks like a long-nosed mouse, however it is no rodent.

As this new virus arrived in the republic, the Tajik government is struggling to make sense of the disease. Experts shared that new animal viruses require critical ongoing surveillance. Virologists say that there is an important need to regular testing of people and animals for emerging viruses to understand the risk of zoonotic diseases, viruses that can be transmitted from animals to humans. The Tajik government may not be able to cope with these processes as little is done and almost zero assistance rendered to the sick.

There is widespread fear amongst the people for the virus to spread wildly and widely to the rural villages and highly poverty regions which have no clinics and hospitals and insufficient medical care and resources. The possible outbreak of a pandemic that will shake the country might wipe out the livestock too, leaving the Tajiks with little to fend for themselves.

The Tajik regime is battling continuous resistance against the abuses and suppression of voices of resistance since a serious of murders such as Mamadboqir Mamadboqirov, known locally as Colonel Boqir and athletes who protected females from the attempted rape of local prosecutors. 

The colonel had been an influential voice as an informal leader inside Gorno-Badakhshan region since the civil war that had rocked the country between 1992 and 1997 and he and others were instrumental to end the civil war. 

The quiet mountains and valleys of Tajikistan is shaken from the murder of a legend, Colonel Boqir.

Originally a military commander for the Tajik Pamirs during and after the war, Boqir was assigned to the country’s border security force, as part of the power-sharing agreement between the different sub-ethnic groups who had fought each other just years before. Before the killing of Colonel Boqir and the mass arrests in Khorog, the capital of GBAO, and elsewhere had one of the most vibrant and independent civil societies in Central Asia. Now that is being systematically stripped away.

The Tajik regime of president Emomali Rahmon and his paranoid security apparatus has since early March 2021 started to dismantle Tajik voices of moderations. Reports suggests widespread arrests of artists, lawyers, community informal leaders, comedians, online influencers, doctors, athletes, nurses and even apple farmers (!). In a region that is one of the poorest on the planet the Stalinist type of regime of president Emomali Rahmon rather lets 80 tons of apples rot than support individuals who contribute to the national food production. 

Scientists think that shrews are a natural reservoir for the virus. (Image credit: Ann and Steve Toon /Alamy Stock Photo)

According to western experts approximately 300 Pamir’s were arrested among them lawyers who were defending the detained. It is known that only four (!) lawyers can defend the large number of arrested and detained. It is now known how many doctors and nurses are amongst the arrested voices of moderation. With the pandemic that goes out of hand will just be just adding on bad news to an already badly managed government. In usual fashion Russian and Tajik government sources will claim that foreign governments behind which experts spoken to dismissed right out of hand. “In a country with poor health systems a virus can easily overwhelm the Tajik health care system. We have seen this initially in China which condemned the doctors that warned of the Covid virus. Many doctors in Tajikistan are likely unaware of the dangers or afraid to speak up out of fear of the regime’s retributions.”, said a WHO official in Switzerland speaking anonymously. 

Face it, the Langya virus is here to stay.

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