The last victim of the Nipah virus was a nurse who took care of an infected patient. Her body was incinerated before family members had the opportunity to take good-bye for fear that the virus could spread. Indian doctors in the popular Kerala resort are in full alert after 10 people have died, too.
Where does Nipah come from?
Nipah is named after the Nipah region of Malaysia where, in 1999, the first victims were registered. Then, of the 265 infected people, 105 died before doctors found the real cause of the disease. Once 90% of the victims had contacts with domestic pigs that fed with fruit fallen from the trees, the scientists believed that this virus was borne by the fruiting bats in the Malaysian jungle.
The exact origin of this virus is not known exactly, but virologists suspect that Nipah propagates through physical contact or body fluids of the infected person. Nipah virus erupts after an incubation in the host body that varies between 6-10 days. Symptoms occur in the form of fever, muscle pain followed by inflammation of the brain. In severe cases, patients are affected by repeated convulsions and, in the end, deep coma is installed. Due to its high mortality, the Nipah virus has also been included in Category A. The armies of the world’s main powers already have Nipah virus doses adapted to dispersal into the atmosphere.
How the virus is transmitted
The virus is transmitted to humans by infected pork, fruit or palm wine contaminated by bats. 70% of those infected are losing their lives. People who contract the disease have symptoms similar to flu. However, the condition of the patients will worsen considerably, resulting in inflammation of the brain and coma.
Other cases have been reported in Bangladesh, India and Australia, but the disease, hopefully, remains very rare.
Patrick Supernaw is the lead editor for Great Lakes Ledger. Patrick has written for many publications including The Huffington Post and Vanity Fair. Patrick is based in Ottawa and covers issues affecting his city. In addition to his severe hockey addiction, Pat also enjoys kayaking and can often be found paddling the Rideau Canal. Contact Pat here