On May 19, an outbreak of the Nipah virus (NiV) has lead to 17 confirmed deaths in the Kozhikode District, Kerala State, India. Two thousand people, including health care workers, are currently under observation.
WHO South-East Asia Region has declared Nipah as an emerging zoonotic disease of public health importance.
NiV causes asymptomatic infection (subclinical) to acute respiratory infection and fatal encephalitis. The infection is transmitted from animals, specifically bats and pigs, infected humans, and through consumption of fruits that have been bitten by infected bats. NiV has an estimated fatality rate between 40% and 75%.
There are no specific treatments available for the Nipah virus. Intensive supportive care is recommended to treat severe respiratory and neurological complications.
Find out more form the World Health Organization.