‘Global pandemic’ RISK after hundreds infected by deadly incurable Nipah disease

Wednesday, May 30, 2018
By Paul Martin

A DEADLY disease that has spread across Asia could potentially become a global pandemic, according to experts.

By Anders Anglesey
30th May 2018

The Nipah virus has a mortality rate of 70% and can cause severe brain damage in survivors.

Awareness of the horrific illness caught global attention after 14 Indians died after contracting the virus in recent weeks.

The virus has killed about 260 people since it first spread across Bangladesh, Malaysia and India back in 1998.

It has also been documented in Singapore, but no deaths have been confirmed in the micro state.

According to the World Health Organisation the virus previously spread when victims ate contaminated pork, or palm sap that had been tainted by fruit bats.

Nipah expert Stephen Luby said the recent outbreak could become a “global pandemic threat” if a strain developed that could be transmitted from individuals to one another.

The Stanford University epidemiologist added: “It is conceivable that there is currently a strain of Nipah virus circulating among bats that, if it infected people, would efficiently transmit from person to person.

“It is conceivable that the virus could acquire a mutation that would enhance this capacity. One concern is that anytime a virus infects a human, it is an environment that selects for survival in that context.”

Carriers of the illness show flu-like symptoms, which can eventually lead to inflammation of the brain.

The primary treatment for humans is intensive care, but there is no known cure.

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