Nipah, Ebola, Marburg … Should we be afraid of these “deadly viruses”?

the essential The Nipah virus has just killed a 12 year old child in India, Ebola and Marburg continue to ‘worry the countries of Africa while the world is subjected to the crisis caused by the Covid – 19. Should we be afraid of new pandemics, new viruses? Jacques Izopet, head of the virology department at Toulouse University Hospital, provides an update on the issue for La Dépêche du Midi.

We very recently heard about a new virus, Nipah … After Ebola or even Covid – 19, should we be worried?

The Nipah has not just appeared or been discovered. We have known it since the end of the last century. It had been discovered in 1999 in Malaysia. It comes from a family of viruses originating from an animal reservoir, most often transmitted by bats, such as Sars-Cov2 . It is particularly virulent and can trigger very serious forms but only during small epidemics. What is worrying, however, is that it has reappeared in the state of Kerala, in India, in a dense region … The cases can therefore be numerous. But, in France, currently, we should not be too alarmed.

To read also: What is the Nipah virus, responsible for the death of a child in India?

So we do not have to fear its arrival in France, or that of viruses like Ebola or its cousin Marburg detected in Guinea in August?

We must remain vigilant in the face of these particularly virulent viruses. Above all, we must learn the lessons of global pandemics as we are living with the Covid – 19: prepare, be better armed. From the first cases, we must be informed and inform the population. Even if the risk is low, it is never zero. But for Ebola, you should know that we have a vaccine already ready with favorable clinical trials. Now is not the time for panic.

Why was the Covid – 19 able to circulate as easily unlike those “deadly viruses”?

Often, the deadliest viruses just aren’t the most contagious. Because, the person will have strong symptoms which will force him to be taken care of and to block the transmission. The virus will also be less contagious if it is highly fatal because it will not have time to be transmitted to a large population. Unlike the Covid – 19 which is only dangerous for people at risk. Most often, people are asymptomatic and pass it by aerosol, so it circulates more. Ebola for example is very dangerous but the epidemic is low because cases die very quickly.

With all these viruses, can we say that we are living in an era of pandemic?

Viruses are still a threat but they are do not dramatize. We will not always have epidemics and pandemics. Hopefully, by the end of the Covid pandemic – 19, no other virus will emerge. Plague, Spanish flu … we always manage to get rid of them. And if the virus does not disappear, thanks to science, we manage to live with it without leaving a “deadly virus”, as with AIDS for example. Thanks to treatment, even though we have not been able to eradicate it, cases no longer experience this fatal outcome as much.

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