Extremely Deadly Virus Spreading in India

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After the death of a 12-year old boy, India's state government of Kerala is now scrambling for ways to combat the deadly Nipah virus.

CBS News reports that the Nipah virus has been described as one of the most deadly viruses to infect humans. It killed 17 of 18 infected patients in India's last Nipah epidemic. This disease is much less contagious that COVID-19, which still infects approximately 41,000 Indians every day. However, there is a 45-day incubation period and no vaccine. There is a 20 percent chance of long-term neurological symptoms in survivors. With a 75 percent mortality rate, even small outbreaks can pose a serious threat to public health.

Officials in the region are taking this new outbreak very seriously. According to CBS, at least 188 people had been tested and quarantined since Monday. In an effort to contain the outbreak physically, they sealed off the area around the boy's home for about two miles.

According to CBS, the symptoms of Nipah infection have been reported by two healthcare workers who had treated the boy. CBS also reports that other infections may have been confirmed. Both of the healthcare workers were hospitalized and are waiting for results from blood tests.

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Anthony Fauci, White House Chief Medical Advisor, warned last September that the world is entering a time of pandemics in which Nipah and other viruses will become more common.

Nipah is a particular threat to southeast Asia's wildlife habitats. This has led to increased numbers of Nipah, including bat species, returning to the region. Officials in Kerala have issued a warning to residents not to eat any fruits containing bats.

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