Published On: Sun, Apr 21st, 2013

Bangladesh: Nipah virus has killed more than 80 percent of those infected in 2013 outbreak

While there is much attention over the outbreaks in China (H7N9 avian influenza) and the Middle East with the new coronavirus, Bangladesh has been in a battle with a viral disease outbreak that is killing a whopping 87.5% of those infected this year.

The Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) in Dhaka has announced in their most recent update that 24 cases of Nipah virus infection have been reported in Bangladesh since the beginning of 2013, of which 21 cases have died.

The demographics of the outbreak reveal the cases are from 13 different districts (Gaibandha, Jhinaidaha, Kurigram, Kushtia, Magura, Manikgonj, Mymenshingh, Naogaon, Natore, Nilphamari, Pabna, Rajbari, Rajshahi). The age distribution of cases is from 8 months to 60 years. Sixteen cases are male and eight are females.

What is this virus that is killing eight out 10 people infected in Bangladesh?

Pteropus fruit bat Image/Video Screen Shot

Pteropus fruit bat
Image/Video Screen Shot

Nipah virus is an emerging zoonotic infection which causes encephalitis and respiratory illness in people. It is also a serious pathogen for pigs and a wide range of animals which has resulted in serious economic loss.

Human infections can occur from direct contact with sick pigs or contaminated tissues.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), in the Bangladesh and India outbreaks, consumption of fruits or fruit products (e.g. raw date palm juice) contaminated with urine or saliva from infected fruit bats was the most likely source of infection. Fruit bats of the family Pteropodidae – particularly species belonging to the Pteropus genus – are the natural hosts for Nipah virus. There is no apparent disease in fruit bats.

In more recent outbreaks of the disease, person-to-person transmission has been seen in Bangladesh and India.

The disease in humans can range from asymptomatic infection to fatal encephalitis. Encephalitis and seizures occur in severe cases, progressing to coma within 24 to 48 hours.

The case fatality rate is estimated at 40% to 75%; however, this rate can vary by outbreak depending on local capabilities for surveillance investigations, according to the WHO.

Those who survive acute encephalitis make a full recovery, but around 20% are left with residual neurological consequences such as persistent convulsions and personality changes.

There is no treatment or vaccine available for either people or animals.

Nipah virus was first detected in Malaysia in 1998 but at present Bangladesh, a hotspot for infectious diseases, is the only country in the world that reports the disease.

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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  1. Bangladesh reports new Nipah virus cases, first since April 2013 - The Global Dispatch says:

    […] The Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) in Dhaka has announced in their most recent update dated May 15, 2013. that 24 cases of Nipah virus infection have been reported in Bangladesh since the beginning of 2013, of which 21 cases have died. Up to that point, the country was dealing with a case-fatality rate of nearly 88 percent. […]

  2. Natura Pet Products expands dry pet food recall due to potential Salmonella … | Nebraska News Feed says:

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