The toddler stomach bug shape is spreading to other areas of China, a researcher has said.
Wuhan and Wuhan province are among those areas where mosquito viruses are circulating in the wild, causing infections in children and adults, as well as adults with weakened immune systems.
The World Health Organization estimates the number of children with weakened immunity is more than 400,000 worldwide.
Researchers in China’s Hubei province recently identified the shape as a new strain of Zika virus.
It is not known if the shape will spread to other parts of China or if the virus will go extinct, according to Zhang Xianhua, an infectious diseases specialist at the Hubeisiang Institute of Tropical Medicine and Public Health, a university affiliated with Hubeibei University.
Zhang and his colleagues are also working to determine the origins of the shape.
A researcher at the University of Hubeiliang in Wuhu province said the shape is the result of mosquito activity and not from Zika virus itself.
“It is because it is related to the shape of the viruses genome, which is the same shape as the Zika virus,” Zhang said.
Zhang has been tracking the shape for two years, but he has only been able to catch the shape in China.
He was able to find the shape after looking for mosquito larvae on mice and birds.
While mosquitoes are capable of spreading viruses, Zhang’s study is the first to show that the shape has the ability to be transmitted.
If the shape spread in the United States and Europe, the virus could eventually become extinct in those regions, Zhang said, but Zhang believes it could also spread in other parts.
Zhao Yonghua, a senior scientist at the Beijing University of Environmental Health Sciences, said it is unclear if the pattern is contagious.
There is also some debate about whether the shape could be a new species of mosquito, but the shape seems to fit with other types of mosquito and the virus is already extinct, Zhao said.
The shape also is not contagious in humans, although it could have a higher incidence in humans with weakened or compromised immune systems, according.
China’s government and the Hengde University of Agricultural and Environmental Science have been working on a vaccine to protect people against the shape, Zhao added.
As part of the project, Zhang and his team are trying to determine whether the virus has mutated.
Scientists are working to find out if the new shape has mutated and if it will be transmitted, Zhang added.