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The deadly Nipah virus is spreading again in India

What is the Nipah virus? Is it deadly?

Health workers after a 12-year-old boy died of the Nipah virus in Kozhikode, Kerala state, India.
Health workers collect blood samples from goats in the neighborhood for testing after a 12-year-old boy died of the Nipah virus in Kozhikode, Kerala state, India, Tuesday, Sept.7, 2021.
Shijith. K, Associated Press

There has been an outbreak of the Nipah virus in India’s southern state, Kerala, and health officials are working hard to stop the spread.

What is the Nipah virus?

The Nipah virus — which is not connected to SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus — is a deadly virus that can spread between humans and animals, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  • Outbreaks often happen in Asia around Bangladesh and India, according to the CDC.
  • The virus often comes from fruit bats. It can also harm pigs and humans.

What are Nipah virus symptoms?

  • Infection can often lead to swelling of the brain.
  • Common symptoms are not all that different to COVID-19 or the common cold with fever, headache, cough and vomiting, per the CDC.

What is the Nipah virus outbreak?

So far, the Nipah virus outbreak has killed a 12-year-old boy in India. More infections have already been confirmed there, according to CBS News.

India’s government has “stepped up contact tracing efforts, identifying, quarantining and testing people who may have come into contact with the young victim,” according to CBS News.

  • In total, about 188 people came into contact with the boy.
  • About 20 of them were considered high-risk, per CBS News.
  • These individuals were put into quarantine or hospitalized.

Is there a treatment for Nipah virus?

No. Per the CDC, “there are no licensed treatments available for Nipah virus (NiV) infection.

  • The CDC recommends “supportive care, including rest, hydration and treatment of symptoms as they occur.”

Should you worry?

“Overall, Kerala seems to have the situation well under control, and there is little cause for worry,” according to Weather.com.