Nipah virus update: CONTAGION map shows countries likely to be hit, including UK THIS YEAR

Saturday, June 9, 2018
By Paul Martin

AN alarming simulation has mapped the countries where the deadly Nipah virus is likely to spread to – with the UK in the firing line. Seventeen people have died so far as a result of an outbreak of the virus in the Malabar region of the Indian state of Kerala.

Sat, Jun 9, 2018

And EcoHealth Alliance, which created the simulation, has warned that urgent action must be taken to prevent the outbreak turning into an epidemic.

Kerala has airports in Calicut, Cochin, and Trivandrum, with Coimbatore International Airport in Tamil Nadu and Mangalore Airport in Karnataka also nearby – and all five offer international flights.

Using FLIRT software developed by EcoHealth Alliance’s technology team, the global nonprofit organisation has undertaken a thorough analysis of which cities and countries should be on alert for potential influx of Nipah-infected travellers.

The UK comes in 11th, the highest-ranked place outside Asia and ahead of China, in 14th, and the United States, in 17th. The simulation considered non only direct flights, but also multi-leg journeys.

EcoHealth Alliance President Peter Daszak said: “We’re monitoring this Nipah outbreak daily.

“If the virus spreads to any of the nearby states, as some fear it already has, the odds of Nipah becoming an international problem grow substantially.

“Goa, in particular, is a very popular vacation destination for many in Europe and Russia.”

Nipah, which is known as a zoonotic disease, spreads from fruit bats to humans, most often via consumption of date palm sap which has been contaminated with a bat’s urine or saliva.

Symptoms can include respiratory difficulties and swelling of the brain.

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