According to the report of the Bangladesh Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research, there have been 9 cases of Nipah virus encephalitis in the country in the first two months of 2015. Of these 9 cases, 6 have died, attributing a 67% mortality to the disease in the current year.
The consumption of fruit and fruit products, primarily date and date palm sap, contaminated with the urine or saliva of infected fruit bats is the main reason behind the disease. Fruit bats, belonging to the Pteropodidae family (Pteropus giganteus) are the most commonly implicated in the transmission of this virus which has a very high case fatality rate. The CFR varies from 40-75% depending on different outbreak areas, and the immediacy of diagnosis and management initiation, which may be a major cause of delay.
Unfortunately, there is no vaccine or specific treatment for this disease and most cases need intense supportive care. The virus emerged first in a cluster of cases in Malaysia, but has been established in Bangladesh, which is currently the only country reporting cases of Nipah virus disease.
|Pteropus giganteus Image Credits: Wikimedia|