The world is facing one of the most severe pandemics reported ever. The fear of death due to COVID-19 is everywhere and adding to this, another fatal virus called Cat Que virus seems to be rearing its head in China. It has reportedly infected various people in the country until now and is slowly moving towards India. As per the National Institute of Virology (NIV), ICMR, Pune, 2 out of 883 human serum samples that came for the study, had anti-CQV IgG antibodies. This means these two Indians had contracted the virus at some point in time. Notably, the Cat Que virus spreads through a species of mosquito called Culex and pigs. Both these creatures exist in India and are susceptible to CQV. After contracting the virus, one can suffer from fatal diseases like meningitis, acute febrile illness, and pediatric encephalitis. Here’s how dangerous these diseases are: Cat Que Virus Can Lead to Meningitis? It is a serious condition that is characterised by the inflammation of the membranes (meningitis) surrounding this important organ and spinal cord. The swelling caused due to this condition leads to symptoms including headache, nausea, fever, loss of appetite, sensitivity to light, and stiffness in the neck. These signs can take a few hours to several days to occur. If not treated on time, meningitis can develop into severe complications like learning disability, hearing loss, shock, brain damage, and even death. Certain tests like blood cultures, CTscan, and spinal tap help in the diagnosis of this condition. To treat mild viral meningitis, doctors usually prescribe over the counter pain medication, ask to consume plenty of fluids, and take enough bed rest. Cat Que Virus can lead to acute Febrile Illness Acute febrile illness means a fever that develops suddenly due to an unknown cause and subsides by itself in a maximum of two weeks. This occurs when a pathogen invades one’s body and the immune system pro-actively react to it in order to kill the virus or bacteria at the earliest. In an attempt to do so, the body’s defense system increases your body temperature so that the pathogen can die after not being able to survive at high temperatures. During this condition, high fever for over 4 days is accompanied by certain other symptoms or diseases including rashes on the skin, typhoid, jaundice, hemorrhages, arthralgia, etc. To diagnose the condition, a doctor may conduct certain tests including peripheral smear examination, rapid diagnostic test, ELISA, polymerase chain reaction, etc. To treat acute febrile illness, doctors target the cause of the condition and prescribe medication accordingly. What is Paediatric Encephalitis that can be caused by Cat Que virus? Encephalitis is a life-threatening brain disease that is called paediatric encephalitis when it occurs in children. It causes inflammation of the brain that further leads to swelling in the organ. This further changes a child’s nervous system. Paediatric encephalitis is characterized by symptoms including seizures, confusion, sensitivity to light, sleepiness, skin rashes, loss of appetite, nausea, neck stiffness confusion, etc. It can occur due to various factors and one of them is a viral infection. Children who already have health issues like measles, upper respiratory infection, rabies, tuberculosis, an autoimmune disease, mumps, etc. are at greater risk of developing encephalitis.
To diagnose paediatric encephalitis, doctors may conduct tests like MRI, urine and stool test, EEG, spinal tab, brain biopsy, and/or CT scan. Paediatric encephalitis needs immediate treatment. Doctors provide medications as per the severity of the condition. They mainly try to reduce the swelling in the brain and prevent the onset of any complication.