Fatality Reported As Horrifying Virus Spreads

A man in Bangladesh died after consuming raw date juice, marking the country’s first death this year caused by the brain-damaging Nipah virus.

The zoonotic virus known as Nipah (NiV) was first identified in 1999 during a pandemic in Singapore and Malaysia. Although it is most often transmitted by fruit bats, this virus may also infect pigs and other species. The virus is a part of the Paramyxoviridae family and the Henipavirus genus.

The virus may infect people in various ways, from innocuous symptoms to severe respiratory damage and even lethal encephalitis. There have been reports of Nipah virus transmission between humans as well. From 1998 to 2018, there were reported outbreaks of the NiV virus, which causes moderate to severe symptoms and ultimately kills 40 to 75 percent of infected people. It caused epidemics in Singapore, India, and Bangladesh, with the latter country losing over 160 lives.

According to Tahmina Shirin, head of the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR), the country’s first instance of 2024 was recorded in Manikganj, located around 32 miles outside Dhaka, the capital.

A positive result was returned from the laboratory after the sample was submitted for analysis—the deceased individual consumed raw date sap.

Drinking raw date juice and eating fruits that bats or birds have partly consumed have been advised against by the health ministry.

The virus has no antidote options.

The International Emergency Committee for Disaster Relief reported that in 2023, ten out of fourteen persons infected with the Nipah virus died in Bangladesh. This was the most significant number of deaths in seven years.

Problems are similar to respiratory disease at first, but they may quickly escalate to more serious neurological problems and usually appear 3–14 days after contact with the virus. Headache, fever,  cough, and trouble breathing are all symptoms of the illness, which may progress to brain swell.

There have been no investigations on the viral persistence in environmental or body fluids, per the World Health Organization (WHO).  It has also been observed that family members and caregivers of sick individuals may transmit the Nipah virus to other people.  WHO has put the death toll from Nipah at 40% to 75%.  Treatment for severe pulmonary and neurological consequences is based on extensive supportive care since there are presently no vaccinations or medicines specifically for the Nipah virus.