At least nine people in southern India have died from an infection caused by the deadly Nipah virus, which provokes brain inflammation and respiratory infections. The World Health Organization (WHO) classifies the infection as one that can cause a global epidemic. This is reported by the publication Science Alert.
The Nipah virus is a relatively recently discovered infectious agent. He was found in 1999 during an outbreak in Malaysia. The carrier is the representatives of the family of the winged (Pteropodidae), including the flying foxes. Infection occurs in Australia, Bangladesh, India, China, Thailand and Africa. From bats, the virus can pass to other animals, including pigs and humans, and also transmitted from person to person through saliva. Currently, there are no medicines and vaccines from the disease, and 40 to 75 percent of the infected are dying.
A new outbreak occurred in the city of Kozhikode in the Indian state of Kerala. The results of the tests confirmed that three of the nine deaths in the body were the Nipah virus. In addition, 25 more people were hospitalized with suspicion of infection.
The disease can be asymptomatic, but encephalitis often develops. Patients complain of muscle weakness, sore throat, fever, then signs of central nervous system damage that ends with coma. In some cases, the lungs are affected, and acute respiratory failure may occur. Even if a person has survived a primary infection, the virus can be reactivated in months or years. The recovered may have permanent neurologic symptoms, including personality changes.