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What is Nipah virus?
Nipah virus is also "top of the list" of 10 priority diseases that the WHO has identified as potentials for the next major outbreak. Health officials in the south Indian state of Kerala say nine people have died in confirmed and suspected cases of the deadly Nipah virus as of 21st May 2018.
- Nipah virus (NiV) infection is a newly emerging disease which can be transmitted to humans from animals. The natural host of the virus are fruit bats.
- The infection was first identified in 1999 during an outbreak of encephalitis and respiratory illness among pig farmers and people with close contact with pigs in Malaysia and Singapore.
- Nearly 300 human cases with over 100 deaths were reported at the time. In order to stop the outbreak, more than a million pigs were euthanized, causing tremendous trade loss for Malaysia.
- Nipah virus infection can be prevented by avoiding exposure to sick pigs and bats in endemic areas and not drinking raw date palm sap.
- Symptom of the infection include fever, headache, drowsiness, respiratory illness, disorientation and mental confusion. These signs and symptoms can progress to coma within 24-48 hours.
- There is no vaccine for either humans or animals. (Source: WHO, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
(Source: WHO, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)