Deadly Nipah virus kills boy in India, prompts worries over outbreak

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A 12-year-old boy died of the virus in Kerala, India.

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Officials in southern India are working to contain a potential outbreak of the deadly get rid of virus According to news reports, after a boy died of the rare virus last week.

A 12-year-old boy was admitted to a hospital in Kozhikode, a city in the Indian state of Kerala, with symptoms of fever and brain swelling. NPR. He was diagnosed with Nipah virus infection and died on 5 September.

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Following the death, officials rushed to identify and isolate those who had come in close contact with the boy. As of 6 September, officials had identified 188 contacts, of whom 20 were considered close contacts and were placed under quarantine or being monitored in hospital. CBS News. On September 7, eight of the close contacts tested negative for the virus.

However, at least two healthcare workers who came in contact with the boy started showing symptoms of the viral infection and were admitted to the hospital while awaiting test results to confirm the infection. CBS News reported. Authorities also sealed off an area within a 2-mile (3.2-kilometer) radius of the boy’s home to check the outbreak.

Nipah virus is naturally found in fruit bats of the Pteropus genus, although it can jump to other animals, including humans. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The virus can cause inflammation of the brain known as encephalitis, and symptoms can include fever and headache, followed by drowsiness, disorientation, and confusion. According to the CDC, people who are infected with the virus can fall into a coma within 48 hours of showing symptoms.

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The virus is highly lethal, with mortality rates up to 75%, according to World Health Organization. This is much higher than the fatality rate for COVID-19, which has been estimated to be around 2% overall, using statistics on cases and deaths since the start of the pandemic. But Nipah virus is much less contagious than the coronavirus that causes COVID-19; For example, the coronavirus delta variant estimates that a original reproduction number, or R0 (pronounced R naught), of about 7, meaning that each infected person spreads the virus to an average of seven other people, NPR. In contrast, the R0 for Nipah virus is estimated to be around 0.5. johns hopkins center for health protection.

According to the CDC, Nipah virus was first discovered in 1999, when it was linked to pig farms in Malaysia and Singapore, killing more than 100 people. Since then, the virus has caused outbreaks mainly in Bangladesh and India.

Kerala had earlier experienced an outbreak of Nipah virus in 2018, which claimed over a dozen lives, according to NPR. The current outbreak comes as Kerala is also dealing with a high rate of COVID-19 cases – in recent weeks, the state reported the highest number of new COVID-19 cases per day among all states in India Granted, NPR reported.

Originally published on Live Science.


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