(RNN) – An outbreak of a deadly brain virus killed 14 people in Kerala, southern India, and sparked concern over its possible spread.
The Nipah virus can cause brain inflammation, which sometimes leads to a coma, and kills in 40-75 percent of cases, according to the World Health Organization. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that it is transmitted by infected bats, pigs or other infected people.
According to WHO, there is "no effective treatment".
The current eruption was first reported in this month in Kozhikode on the southwest Indian coast. Officials have confirmed 16 cases, with 12 others suspected.
The last death occurred this week.
According to an Indian newspaper, the Hindustan Times, four people died in a family in a village called Changaroth, more than an hour north of Kozhikode. Up to 90 families and two neighboring villages have left their homes.
Humans have avoided fruit in the region, with the original transmission coming from a fruit bat. And the United Arab Emirates, which imports a large proportion of its fruit and vegetables from India, banned products in Kerala this week.
Officials, in particular, have warned against consuming the kind of dates or by-products that bats feed on. 1
The disease was first discovered in humans in 1999 in Malaysia and regularly broke out in Bangladesh and Bangladesh India. However, it has not had this serious episode in more than 10 years. More than 100 people died during the first 1999 outbreak in Malaysia, according to the CDC
In addition to the brain's swelling, which is the most serious symptom of the disease, infected people may also experience flu-like symptoms such as fever and headache.
The WHO says that the incubation period is 4-18 days. There is no vaccine for the virus.
So far, officials in India believe that the disease has not spread. And now WHO does not recommend any trade or travel restrictions related to the outbreak.
But in a list of diseases that are likely to cause major epidemics, the WHO holds, Nipah is one of eight in addition to Ebola and SARS. 19659002] And while it seems at the moment, the Times of India reports, "Panic over Nipah virus knows no bounds."
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