Outbreak of deadly Nipah virus recorded in India

Wikimedia Commons Nipah Virions

In southwestern India, in Kerala, an outbreak of the rare deadly Nipah virus has been reported. Now there is no effective treatment against the disease caused by the virus - doctors can only alleviate the symptoms. In most cases, an average of 40–75 percent of those infected have died from the virus. In 2018, the World Health Organization (WHO) included Nipach on the list of research priorities - this list includes, among other things, Ebola and SARS.

Nipah, as you know, can be transmitted from animals to humans and from person to person. One of the main carriers of the virus are flying foxes ( Pteropus ); however, in these animals, due to the virus, the disease does not develop, they are only carriers. Indian authorities suggest that the cause of this outbreak may be water from a well in the city of Perambra - dead foxes were found in this well. Another possible reason is the date palm juice, also contaminated with flying foxes. (Nipah virus carriers can also be domestic animals, including pigs, horses, cats, dogs.)

As already noted, there are no effective medicines for the disease caused by the Nipah virus, nor are there any vaccines for the virus. Among the symptoms of the disease are fever, headaches and muscle aches, encephalitis, nausea and vomiting, severe respiratory problems - after this, coma and death can occur. In the last stages of the disease, a person can infect another. In the case of the last outbreak, it is known that a nurse caring for patients was infected and died. In general, at least 12 people have died because of the current outbreak, according to the New York Times. The authorities recommended to people living in Kerala, in particular, to always wash fruits before eating them, not to eat bitten fruits and fruits lying on the ground, and not to drink the raw juice of date palms, and also to avoid abandoned wells.

The Nipah virus outbreak was first reported in Malaysia in 1998. Then, it is assumed that the virus was transmitted to people from pigs, which could be infected by flying foxes. In total, 265 people were infected, 105 of them died. Later also several outbreaks occurred in India and Bangladesh.

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