U.K. health agency 'closely' monitoring deadly virus in India, has up to 75% fatality rate
( Blaze )
The United Kingdom is apparently monitoring the recent outbreak of Nipah virus in India, which has a kill rate of up to 75% of those who contract the illness.
The recent uptick in cases of the virus, which reportedly inspired the Hollywood pandemic flick "Contagion," has killed two people in the southern state of Kerala, according to the Daily Mail.
Five other cases have been detected, including a child of one of the victims. The report indicated that 800 people have been tested for the virus thus far. The U.K. Health Security Agency stated that it was "closely" monitoring the outbreak.
X account Alert Channel posted: "Reports are emerging from India of a highly dangerous Virus with a kill rate of 75% which is far deadlier than anything previously seen.
#NipahVirus is spread by fruit bats, who can transmit the virus to people via contact with infected bodily fluids like saliva or urine left on fruit."
Public transport in the area has been suspended, and those from neighboring states are also being tested for the infection.
The illness is contagious and spreads easily, whether by sneezing or coughing. The virus can be fatal by causing respiratory issues and brain swelling, according to the report.
There are no successful vaccines against the virus. The only treatment is helping the patient survive the symptoms while the body tries to fight off the infection.
A spokesperson for the UK health agency said: "UKHSA’s emerging infections and zoonoses team continue to monitor the Nipah outbreak closely though our epidemic intelligence processes."
"Nipah virus has not been detected in the UK and the risk of importation into the UK is very low."
Professor Miles Carroll, an expert in viruses at the Pandemic Sciences Institute at the University of Oxford, said: "To date, there have been five confirmed cases and two deaths reported, with many of those affected being family members of the first patient."
"Scientists here in Oxford are working with local partners in endemic countries to find out more about Nipah so we can ensure the world is better protected from outbreaks of this kind."
He went on to mention that Oxford researchers are currently at work on using the same technology as the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to set up a clinical trial for the Nipah vaccine.
There has never been a report of Nipah virus in the U.K. or U.S.
Nipah was first discovered in 1999 after an outbreak occurred among pig farmers in Malaysia, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.