Nipah virus outbreak in Kerala traced to Bangladesh strain

June 1, 2018

The deadly Nipah virus outbreak in Kerala, India has already claimed 15 lives as of May. Scientists at the National Institute of Virology have confirmed, after decoding the full genome of the virus taken from the throat swab sample of a patient, that the Bangladesh strain of Nipah virus (NiV) is responsible for the outbreak. The current outbreak of Nipah virus is the third in India, with the first two outbreaks taking place in 2001 and 2007, respectively.The scientists say that the Nipah virus has two strains — Malaysia (NiVM) and Bangladesh (NiVB). Both strains have high fatality rates between 60% and 85%.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Nipah virus was first identified during an outbreak of diseases that took place in Malaysia in 1998. Both animal-to-human and human-to-human transmission have been documented.

Since 1998 to 2015, more than 600 cases of Nipah virus human infections have been reported. Subsequent outbreaks in India and Bangladesh have occurred with high fatality rate.

The first identification of Nipah virus as a cause of an outbreak of encephalitis was reported in 2001 in Meherpur district of Bangladesh. Since then, outbreaks of Nipah virus encephalitis have been reported almost every year in select districts in the neighbouring country.

Samples of bats found in the well of a house in Perambra is considered to be the epicentre of the outbreak in Kerala. The samples tested negative for the virus at the designated laboratory in Bhopal.


Category: Community, Features

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