Published On: Sat, Jan 11th, 2014

Bangladesh reports new Nipah virus cases, first since April 2013

At least two Nipah virus (NiV) cases have been confirmed in Bangladesh and another four suspected cases deaths are being investigated, according to a Dhaka Tribune report today.

Pteropus bats Public domain image/ Robotbreeder at the wikipedia project

Pteropus bats
Public domain image/ Robotbreeder at the wikipedia project

The Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) confirmed NiV through laboratory analysis. It is reported the two confirmed victims died in late December 2013. They are teen boys (13 and 14 years) from Shibaloy and Ghior of Manikganj district.

The investigation into all six fatalities reveals that each person had the history of drinking raw date-palm sap.

Bangladeshi health officials fear they are dealing with an outbreak and advise the public to abstain from drinking raw date-palm sap.

In addition, they also urged the product’s sellers to refrain from selling raw sap.

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.

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. Body of Bangladeshi doctor who reportedly died from MERS coronavirus in Saudi Arabia, Dr. Mohammed Humayun Kabeer, being flown to Dhaka Monday - The Global Dispatch says:

    […] Related story: Bangladesh reports new Nipah virus cases, first since April 2013 […]

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