The outbreak in Kerala continues and 16 cases have been confirmed, 12 of which were suspected cases and 14 deaths, reports the WHO.
Although there was never a Nipah infection in the US, there were local outbreaks in Malaysia, Bangladesh and India.
Nipah is considered a zoonotic disease, which means that it is
Nipah virus is generally borne by bats (especially large fruit bats), Stephen Luby, MD, professor of infectious diseases and geographic medicine at Stanford University, says SELF , It's unusual to see this type of infection outside of bats, and the virus does not make them sick. Most other mammals, however, show symptoms when they are infected. In humans, Nipah infections are associated with symptoms such as fever, respiratory problems and severe headaches. The infection can lead to brain damage and death.
For example, in 2004 people in Bangladesh were infected with the Nipah virus after drinking date palm juice contaminated with infected fruit bats; The saliva of the bat got into juice, which was tapped by trees, what the people then drank, explains dr. Luby.
However, according to the WHO, more than 600 cases of human-to-human transmission have been reported between 1998 and 2015. And the fact that the Nipah transmission has occurred in some recent cases between humans is worrying.
"This is another example of an outbreak of infectious disease that should attract people's attention," says Professor Amesh A. Adalja, an infectious disease expert at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, SELF says. But it is important to point out that Nipah "can not efficiently transmit from person to person," adds Dr. Add Adalja. "This is not contagious in the sense that the flu is," says TG Ksiazek, Ph.D., a professor in the Departments of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Texas Medical School, SELF.
But the fact that it happens at all is worrying because "most of the devastating infectious diseases in human history began as infections emanating from animals and humans, and then the ability to more efficiently transmit humans to humans received, "Dr. Luby says – like HIV, measles and tuberculosis.
Nipah virus is also worrying because it can be deadly, and even those who survive the infection may end up with long-term health problems.
According to one person According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it can take five to 14 days before the symptoms of Nipah virus appear. Then, the person may have a fever, headache, and / or sometimes a respiratory disease somewhere between three and 14 days, followed by drowsiness, disorientation, and mental confusion. The symptoms can develop into coma and lead to encephalitis (inflammation of the brain).
Although there are no clear statistics on how deadly Nipah virus infections are, the CDC notes that during a Nipah virus outbreak between 1998 and 1999, about 40 percent of people hospitalized for Nipah infections came, died.
"This is a terribly serious disease," says Dr. William Schaffner, Infectious Disease Specialist and Professor at the Medical Faculty of Vanderbilt University, SELF. "Even people who survive can have a long-term disability, it's a really bad infection." Some people have experienced persistent convulsions and personality changes, says the CDC, and some patients have a reactivation of the virus months and even years after their exposure experience.
There is no known cure either "Once humans are infected and symptomatic, there is no proven effective therapy," says Dr. Luby. The only treatment available is supportive care, including the use of intravenous fluids to prevent dehydration and seizure medication, Dr. Adalia.
Nipah is rare, but infectious disease experts are watching it.
WHO added the Nipah virus to the list of "priority illnesses" earlier this year, along with better-known diseases such as Ebola, Zika and SARS.
However, in the US and even never had a Nipah infection in this hemisphere, Dr. Conductor. The greatest risk now exists for the people of Kerala in India or for those who travel there. If you're in the area, it's a good idea to avoid the date palm juice that has been linked to the Nipah virus in the past, but you should be fine otherwise, says Ksiazek.
Ultimately, "this is not something the average American needs to worry about," says Dr. Adalia.
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