Deadly outbreak of the Nipah virus: Is another pandemic on the horizon?

Written by Jakob A. Overgaard

Sep.14 - 2023 5:48 PM CET

Photo: Shutterstock
Photo: Shutterstock
Deadly Nipah virus emerges: Is another pandemic on the horizon?

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In a bid to contain the perilous Nipah virus, thousands of offices and schools have been shut down in the Indian state of Kerala.

As reported by Gulf News Asia, containment zones have been established in the Kozhikode district, spanning across at least seven villages.

The outbreak has already claimed two lives, with both an adult and a child currently hospitalized after contracting the rare Nipah virus.

This virus, prevalent in Asia, is transmitted through contact with the bodily fluids of infected bats, pigs, or humans. Once contracted, it induces encephalitis in humans, which is fatal in most cases.

Veena George, the Health Minister of Kerala, emphasized the state's proactive approach, stating, "We are focusing on early detection of contacts of the infected individuals and isolating anyone showing symptoms."

The looming question on everyone's mind is whether the Nipah virus could lead to a global pandemic. However, according to media reports, the Indian Health Ministry has already taken all possible measures to prevent the spread of the Nipah infection. Given that this is a localized outbreak in a rural region, its spread to other countries and continents is deemed highly unlikely.

To ensure no further transmission of the virus, even medical personnel who come into contact with infected individuals are placed under quarantine.

Preliminary investigations suggest that the initial victim was a landowner from the village of Marutonkara, who cultivated bananas and betel nuts.

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