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Nipah virus outbreak

Infection found in 28 districts

Public health experts recommend mass awareness

04 February 2023
Infection found in 28 districts

Staff Reporter  :
Nipah virus infection has been found in 28 districts of the country, according to the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS).
It (DGHS) has asked the authorities of DNCC Dedicated Covid-19 Hospital to keep a 10-bed isolation ward and 10 more ICU beds ready for Nipah virus patients.
The director of hospital and clinics of the DGHS came up with the directive in a notice, signed by Dr Sheikh Daud Adnan.
At least five people, including two children and a woman, died and a total of eight persons infected with the Nipah virus in Bangladesh this year.
According to the Institute of Epidemiology Disease Control and Research (IEDCR), two cases were reported in Naogaon district and one case was reported in Rajbari district in 2022.
Nipah virus (NiV) first emerged in Malaysia in 1998 while Bangladesh reported its first Nipah case in 2001.
A total of 331 Nipah virus cases reported in the country since 2001.
In wake of the Nipah virus outbreak in the country, public health experts recommend that people should be more careful and avoid the known mediums of infection, such as avoiding raw date palm sap, handling live or dead infected animals, and eating fruits eaten by bats or birds.
They emphasis on more awareness as no medicine or vaccine has been developed against Nipah virus infection among human.
According to icddr,b, even if people recover from the Nipah virus sickness, they remain vulnerable to
severe neurological issues. It also causes complications towards the end of pregnancy for women.
Earlier on January 29, Health Minister Zahid Malek described the outbreak situation as an unprecedented one.
"Eight people were infected with the Nipah virus and of them, five people died," he said at a press briefing over the Nipah virus outbreak at the Secretariat in Dhaka.
Usually, more than 70 per cent of infections lead to death, and people who drink raw date juice and fruits partially eaten by birds, especially bats, have the possibility of being infected with the virus, Maleque said.
"Besides, healthy people who come in contact with the infected ones also have the possibility of being infected with the virus, and it spreads from person to person quickly, which is a matter of concern," he added.
The government has taken steps to prevent the spread of the Nipah virus, said the minister, adding, "First of all we have to make people aware of the virus through the media."
Besides, the government has taken steps to create dedicated wards and separate Intensive Care units at hospitals for providing treatment to the infected people, he added.
He also urged the people to remain alert about the spread of the virus and to refrain from drinking raw date juice and fruits eaten by birds or animals.
According to Institute of Epidemiology Disease Control and Research (IEDCR), Nipah virus was first detected in the country in 2001 in Meherpur. Then in 2003 Naogaon. However, its biggest outbreak occurred in 2004 in Faridpur district. There were 35 infected and 27 died.
According to the World Health Organization, Nipah virus infection in humans causes a range of clinical presentations, from asymptomatic infection (subclinical) to acute respiratory infection and fatal encephalitis.
The case fatality rate is estimated at 40 per cent to 75 per cent. This rate can vary by outbreak depending on local capabilities for epidemiological surveillance and clinical management.
Nipah virus can be transmitted to humans from animals (such as bats or pigs), or contaminated foods and can also be transmitted directly from human-to-human.
Fruit bats of the Pteropodidae family are the natural host of Nipah virus.
There is no treatment or vaccine available for either people or animals. The primary treatment for humans is supportive care.

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