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Killer Virus is Nipah: IEDCR PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 05 February 2011

The virus that killed 14 people at Hatibandha Upazila in Lalmonirhat in the last four days has been identified as Nipah.

Director of the Institute of Epidemiology Diseases Control and Research (IEDCR) Mahmudur Rahman told reporters on Friday afternoon that they have been able to identify the virus through tests.

The outbreak of the virus was first marked a week back in the area. A team of IEDCR started working to identify the cause on Wednesday following a number of deaths.

The director also said 22 cases of infections have been recorded so far and 14 of them have died. The death toll was also confirmed by Hatibandha Upazila Executive Officer (UNO) Mohammad Ashrafuzzaman.

However, locals claimed that at least 19 have died as of Friday, while Hatibandha Upazila Health Complex physician Bimol Kumar Roy put the number of infected people at 50.

The civil surgeon of Lalmonirhat said an expert team from Dhaka, along with local fieldworkers, was working to contain the outbreak.

Meanwhile, the IEDCR has advised against drinking unprocessed date extracts, as fruit bats, the natural host of the Nipah virus, could contaminate the juice.

According to World Health Organisation, Nipah virus causes severe illness characterised by inflammation of the brain (encephalitis) or respiratory diseases.

It can be transmitted to humans from animals, and can also be transmitted directly from human-to-human. In Bangladesh, half of the reported cases between 2001 and 2008 were due to human-to-human transmission, the WHO website says.

It also said there is no treatment or vaccine available for either people or animals.

The IEDCR director added that the virus has a 75% mortality rate.


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