The deadly Nipah virus outbreak has struck India with terror | Albiseyler

The deadly Nipah virus outbreak has struck India with terror


In India, two people have died from the Nipah virus in recent weeks, and many more are feared to be carriers of the deadly disease, which kills up to 75% of those it infects.

Public officials in India are scrambling to contain the virus, closing schools, offices and public transport to stop the easily spread disease.

Nipah is identified by the World Health Organization as a high-priority disease with the potential to trigger another global pandemic, turning any outbreak into a public health crisis.

“Nipah virus is a zoonotic virus (transmitted from animals to humans) and can also be transmitted through contaminated food or directly between people,” the WHO says on its website.

Not only is the disease easily spread, but the incubation period can be up to 45 days, so people carrying the Nipah virus have no symptoms and feel healthy – even as they spread the infection to others.

Medical workers in protective gear move the body of a person who died of Nipah virus infection at a hospital in the state of Kerala, India.
AFP via Getty Images

There is no vaccine or cure for Nipah infection, so treatment is usually limited to relieving the symptoms – fever, headache, cough, sore throat and vomiting – in those who suffer from the disease.

In severe cases, patients may experience disorientation, seizures, coma or swelling of the brain (encephalitis), according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In fact, some survivors of Nipah infection have long-term neurological symptoms such as seizures, convulsions and erratic personality changes.

Residents attach a sign reading “Nipah Containment Zone” to a barricade that was erected to block a road after authorities declared the area a quarantine zone.

Nipah virus can infect many different animals, including horses, pigs, sheep, goats, cats, dogs and especially bats.

“They are carried by bats that sit in the tops of trees,” Dr. Joanne Macdonald, Associate Professor of Molecular Engineering at the University of the Sunshine Coast, Australia. he told the Guardian. “They can urinate and contaminate the fruit, and when people eat it, they get the virus and then get sick.”

Since the virus was first discovered in 1998, there have been other outbreaks of Nipah virus among pigs and pig farmers in Malaysia and Singapore.

A health worker disposes of biohazardous waste from a Nipah virus isolation center at a government hospital in the southern Indian state of Kerala.
AFP via Getty Images

The current outbreak is centered in the southern Indian state of Kerala, where earlier outbreaks were recorded in 2018, 2019 and 2021.

Along with Nipah, WHO has identified other “priority diseases” that have the potential to cause another pandemic: Marburg and Ebola viruses; Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever; Lassa fever; Rift Valley fever; Middle East respiratory syndrome, also known as MERS; severe acute respiratory syndrome, commonly referred to as SARS; COVID-19 and the Zika virus.

The final disease on the WHO list is the chillingly named “Disease X,” the code name the WHO uses for a disease currently unknown to medical science as the cause of human infections.

Medical workers in protective gear move a woman with Nipah virus symptoms to an isolation ward at a government hospital in the Indian state of Kerala.
AFP via Getty Images

As a new disease agent—whether it’s a virus, bacteria, fungus, or other pathogen—there are likely to be no vaccines or few, if any, treatments available.

“This is not science fiction,” said Dr. Richard Hatchett, CEO of the Coalition for Innovation in Epidemic Preparedness, said the Telegraph. “This is a scenario we have to prepare for.

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