A different virus classified by the World Health Organization has ‘pandemic potential’ and is spreading more than usual due to care shortages in India caused by COVID.
The London Telegraph reports that the Nipah virus attacks the brain and has a 40% to 75% fatality rate. It killed a twelve-year-old boy who was sent around to five different hospitals because of COVID.
The boy came into contact with close to 200 people, including two health workers and the boy’s mother who is already in isolation after developing the symptoms, which are similar to those of COVID.
Some people who contract the virus can be asymptomatic.
However, early symptoms can include fever, headaches, muscle pain, coughing, vomiting, difficulties breathing, and a sore throat.
More serious illnesses can follow, such as disorientation, drowsiness, confusion, severe respiratory problems, and seizures, reports Newsweek
The virus can lead to acute encephalitis.
Newsweek reports it can take 4 to 45 days to incubate.
The Nipah virus has been known since 1998 but has been contained, with the worst outbreak occurring twenty years ago in West Bengal when 45 out of 66 people infected with the virus died.
It’s a Bat-Borne Virus.
Fruit bats, which are also known as flying foxes, are the natural hosts of the virus, and an infection can spread from animals to humans, from humans to humans, and through the consumption of contaminated food, such as fruit.
They are looking for the source which they suspect is contaminated fruit.
“The family of the victim had stated about the frequent presence of fruit bats at their property, where there are rambutan trees,” said George, via The Indian Express.
“Samples of half-eaten rambutan fruits, which could be either bitten by bats or pecked by birds, were collected. Besides, a habitat of fruit bats has been spotted at the other side of a river near the victim’s house.”
Health authorities in Kerala where the boy died urge people to get tested for Nipah as they lockdown Kerala and surrounding areas. People are told to wear masks and social distance.
There are no drugs to treat Nipah, a respiratory disease. The Telegraph reports The Who has given Nipah a priority status. Oxford virologists, who developed Astra Zeneca have announced a “big step forward” in testing Nipah.