Alerts Issued As Two People Die Of Nipah Virus In Bangladesh

(Photo by AFP) (Photo by -/AFP via Getty Images)

Kay Smythe News and Commentary Writer
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The World Health Organization (WHO) issued an alert Tuesday after two laboratory confirmed cases of the deadly Nipah virus were identified in Bangladesh.

Both patients died of their infections, WHO wrote in their risk assessment, which is currently at a “moderate” rating. Bangladesh has a seasonal Nipah risk between December and April.

The first case was brought into a local hospital in the Manikganj district in the Dhaka division with symptoms of respiratory distress, restlessness, fever and insomnia in mid-January. After the patient was placed in an intensive care unit (ICU), he was intubated before being moved to another hospital for further care, where he died Jan. 28.

The second patient was a three-year-old girl from Shariatpur, also in the Dhaka division, who had been experiencing seizures, altered consciousness and a high fever. She died Jan. 31st, the same day samples from her throat tested positive for Nipah.

Nipah is a bat-borne zoonotic disease that spreads rapidly between infected animals and humans through saliva, urine and excreta, and can also be transferred between humans, WHO noted. Incubation typically lasts four to 14 days, but some cases haven’t felt symptoms for up to 45 days. (RELATED: These Are The Craziest Medical Stories Of 2023 (They Might Make You Nauseous)

The first patient had a history of contact with at least 91 people since Jan. 30, 11 of whom were family members. The second is believed to have had 67 contacts as of Feb. 7. All of those tested thus far were not positive for the disease.

Nipah virus’ death rate varies heavily but is anywhere between 40% to 100% in areas across India, Malaysia, Bangladesh and Singapore.

Two people in India died of the virus in Sept. 2023, with scientists sounding the alarm over the potential mutation of the virus, which would make it far more transmissible. There is no known cure, so doctors can only treat symptoms.