Deadly Nipah virus raises WHO alert after emerging in India

The Nipah virus recently resurfaced in India and caused the death of a 12-year-old boy in Kerala province. The pathogen is not new, but the case has put the international medical community on alert. The World Health Organization (WHO) said that it observes the cases of the disease.

Also according to the agency, the Niph virus mortality can be up to 75%. In the case of the Indian boy, the symptoms quickly got worse and after developing a strong fever the young man had encephalitis (an inflammation of the brain) and died.

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Despite the seriousness of the disease, the virus itself is poorly transmissible, which makes it difficult for outbreaks to appear. In an interview with Agência Brasil, infectologist Rita Medeiros, from the Federal University of Pará, explained that, for now, the parasite circulates more easily among fruit-eating bats, that is, bats that feed on fruit.

Understand the Deadly Nipah Virus

The virus incubation period usually varies between 4 and 14 days. According to dr. Stephen Luby, from Stanford University, in an article, despite being transmissible and can infect a large number of people occasionally, the average rate of transmission of the virus is “less than one person by infection”.

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“However, every time a person is infected, the virus is in an environment that elects human adaptation and transmissibility. The risk is that a new strain that transmits itself more efficiently from person to person is capable of generating a devastating outbreak”, he added.

The doctor, however, points out that with a mortality rate in the range of 70%, this virus needs to be isolated and closely observed, since if it mutates it can cause great danger. The expert highlights the need to continue “investing in strategies to reduce the risk of spreading the Nipah virus and in the development of countermeasures against a range of high-risk pathogens”.

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