Understanding the Nipah Virus Outbreak in India: Causes, Symptoms, and Prevention

2023-09-24 12:14:48

With a case fatality rate of 40 to 75% and no vaccine available, the Nipah virus worries scientists. If it is currently raging in India, it could also cause a pandemic according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

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In India, the authorities are taking measures against the Nipah virus with the death of two people in the south of the country (Kerala state). In this region, hundreds of tests have been carried out, schools are closing and seven villages are declared “ contaminated areas “. American media CNN remember that there is no vaccine yet against this virus and that treatments are limited to relieving symptoms. “ In the infected subject, it causes an illness which can range from asymptomatic infection to acute respiratory infection, or even fatal encephalitis. », explains the World Health Organization (OMS).

Some patients recover completely from the infection, while others have lasting neurological sequelae, including seizure disorders or personality changes. The case fatality rate for Nipah virus varies between 40 and 75%.

One more zoonosis

According to the WHO, “ Nipah is a zoonotic virus (i.e. transmitted from animals to humans). It can also be transmitted through contaminated food or directly between people “. Fruit bats of the family Pteropodidae are the natural carriers of the virus, identified as the most likely cause of epidemics.

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The first-ever Nipah virus outbreak appeared in Malaysia in 1998 and killed more than 100 people. In recent years, Bangladesh and India have been the two countries most affected by the virus. In the state of Kerala, this is the fourth Nipah wave in five years. Due to its ability to cause a global epidemic, the WHO even classifies this virus as one of the diseases that deserves priority research.

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