Is Nipah Virus the Next Epidemic Crisis?

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According to the CBC:

A rare virus spread by fruit bats, which can cause flu-like symptoms and brain damage, has killed 10 people in southern India, health officials said on Tuesday, with at least two more cases being monitored.

The virus was first detected in Malaysia in 1998, and India’s eastern state of West Bengal has suffered two outbreaks in the last decade, killing 50 people, the WHO has said.

There has been a another preivous outbreak in Bengladesh in 2004. It would be the third outbreak if confirmed.

Is there any risks in Canada?

The risk to Canadians is considered to be low as there are no species of fruit bats in Canada. However, people working with swine in Southeast Asia should be aware of the risk.

Mode of transmission of Nipah Virus

nipah virus

Public Health Canada states that:

The mechanism for the transmission of the virus from fruit-bats to animals is unknown, but may involve consumption of fruit contaminated with urine or saliva from infected bats. Transmission from animals to humans appears to occur by direct contact with contaminated tissues/body fluids of infected animals, especially pigs. Other infected animals, such as cats and dogs, may also be involved in spreading the virus. Human to human transmission is likely to occur by direct exposure to an infectious inoculum shed in the respiratory secretions of the infected individual, as well as by close physical interaction and frequent contact with the infected individual’s saliva.

Human-to-human transmission has been documented in several of the more recent outbreaks in Bangladesh, before which human-to-human transmission was considered to be a rare event

 

Sources:

Special Thanks: Remi Charlebois

http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/india-nipah-virus-death-toll-1.4672446

http://www.who.int/csr/disease/nipah/en/

http://www.inspection.gc.ca/animals/terrestrial-animals/diseases/immediately-notifiable/nipah-virus/fact-sheet/eng/1303439340158/1306100144027

https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/laboratory-biosafety-biosecurity/pathogen-safety-data-sheets-risk-assessment/nipah-virus.html

Mystery virus Nipah virus identified in Kerala, 9 dead, Central team on way

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