India: a new virus worries the WHO

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Indian authorities announced this week that they are working to contain an outbreak of Nipah, a rare virus transmitted from animals to humans. This virus notably causes high fever with a high mortality rate.

India has limited public gatherings and closed some schools in Kerala, a state in the south of the country.

Pathogen causes dangerous brain inflammation

In the Indian state of Kerala, a ban on gatherings and closure of schools was imposed following an outbreak of the Nipah virus. Public life is largely at a standstill. According to local media, two people had already died from the infection. Authorities said three other people tested positive for the virus.

According to information, more than 700 people are under observation because they have been in contact with infected people.

Neighboring states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu are now requiring people in Kerala to be tested.

There is currently no vaccine for Nipah, and it is transmitted to humans by foxes, bats and pigs.

The virus can also be transmitted through contaminated food or direct person-to-person contact. According to the RKI, the virus was discovered in Malaysia and Singapore in 1999. At that time, more than 200 people fell ill. Later, epidemics broke out in Bangladesh and India.

In the outbreaks observed, more than one in two people affected died. The infection leads to flu-like symptoms, encephalitis and coma. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Nipah virus is a pathogen with the potential to cause a global epidemic. There is no vaccine or medicine; according to the WHO, the mortality rate is 40 to 75%.

Catherine Mills Avatar