Nipah is a virus with a fatality rate of up to 75 per cent. It can be transmitted to people from animals and through contaminated food and produce, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The deadly virus can also be transmitted from an individual to another.
“Nipah virus is another emerging infectious disease that causes great concern, Nipah could blow any moment. The next pandemic could be a drug-resistant infection, Jayasree K Iyer, the executive director of the Netherlands-based Access to Medicine Foundation said.
The virus is rare and spread by fruit bats, which can cause flu-like symptoms and brain damage. It can cause encephalitis, or inflammation of the brain, according to the World Health Organization.
Someone with Nipah virus may experience respiratory symptoms including a cough, sore throat, aches and fatigue, and encephalitis, a swelling of the brain which can cause seizures and death. It’s a disease that the WHO would like to prevent from spreading.
An outbreak of the Nipah virus in India’s southern state Kerala in 2018 claimed 17 lives with countries like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates temporarily placing a ban on frozen and processed fruit and vegetable imports from Kerala as a result of the outbreak there.
At that time, health officials believed that Nipah outbreaks in Bangladesh and India were perhaps associated with the drinking of date palm juice.
According to the WHO, there are no drugs or vaccines that target the Nipah virus infection.