What is the Nipah virus, responsible for the death of a child in India?

the essential Sunday September 5, a child of 12 years old died, in India, as a result of the virus Nipah. It causes a disease that can be dangerous, for which there is no treatment or vaccine.

“At the moment there is no reason to panic. But we have to be careful. Veena George, Minister of Health from the state of Kerala in southern India calls for calm and vigilance in the country after the death of a boy from 12 years. The child died of infection with the potentially fatal Nipah virus for which there is no cure.

The state of Kerala is ” on alert”

Since the facts, the state of Kerala is “on alert”, the aim being to contain a “potential epidemic” of the Nipah virus, indicates the news agency Associated Press. Measures similar to those intended to fight against Covid are therefore in place: tracing of contact cases, isolation measure

A virus that is transmitted from animals to humans

The Nipah virus (NiV) is transmitted from animals to humans and in particular via fruit bats but also via pigs, horses, goats, sheep, cats or dogs. This is called a zoonotic virus, explains the World Health Organization (WHO). But it can also be passed from person to person.

This virus is not new, it was first identified in Malaysia, in 1999, after an increase in cases in pig farms. In Bangladesh, outbreaks have been observed for twenty years.

Fruit as a source of infection

In infections in Bangladesh or India, “the most likely source of infection was the consumption of fruit or fruit products contaminated with urine or saliva from infected bats,” says WHO.

Between humans, the virus has, for example, spread from one person to another “by close contact with the secretions or excretions of infected people”, or in health establishments. But the WHO, specifies that the virus is “less contagious” than the Covid – 12, underlines the American daily The Washington Post .

At the moment, there is no vaccine or treatment to fight the Nipah virus. According to the WHO, the case fatality rate is estimated at between 40 and 75%. 20% of patients who recover, approximately, have neurological sequelae, such as convulsive disorders or personality alterations.

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