India’s southern Kerala state of the recent epidemic of Nipah virus, as of 23, has caused at least 11 deaths.
The Nipah virus epidemic appeared in Kerala Kozekod and Mereblum districts. Eight of the dead were from Kozecode district, including a family of three; the other three were from Mereblum district, including a nurse who cared for the patient. At present, 19 people are being treated in isolation, 2 of whom are seriously ill.
In 1998, Nipah virus first appeared in Malaysia. Studies on infectious diseases have shown that Malaysian farmers like to plant mango trees around pig pens. Fruit bats bite mango residues and drop them into pig pens. Pigs eat mangoes contaminated with Nipah virus in bat saliva, which causes infection. The local people contracted the virus from contact with pigs.
Nipah virus is listed by the World Health Organization as one of the 10 potential high-risk infectious diseases requiring attention in 2018. There is no vaccine or effective cure for the virus, which kills 75% of people and 60% of animals.