Nipah virus not like COVID-19, unlikely to enter PH border: expert


Posted at Sep 25 2023 01:01 PM

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A health expert is not worried that the deadly Nipah virus detected in India can cross borders and will soon enter Philippine territory. 

Dr. Rontgene Solante, president of the Philippine College of Physicians, said Kerala state in India has already contained the Nipah outbreak, which has killed 2 people and an additional 4 infections since last month. 

"It's not something to worry about at this time. Alam naman natin at their level, it is already controlled. I don't think its a problem like in terms of border like what we experienced with COVID-19. It is easy to track down those symptomatic infections more or less," he said.

Outbreaks are rare but Nipah has been listed by the World Health Organization (WHO) -- alongside Ebola, Zika and Covid-19 -- as one of several diseases deserving of priority research for their potential to cause a global epidemic.

Nipah usually spreads to humans from animals or through contaminated food, but it can also be transmitted directly between people.

Fruit bats are the natural carriers of the virus and have been identified as the most likely cause of subsequent outbreaks.

Symptoms include intense fever, vomiting and a respiratory infection, but severe cases can involve seizures and brain inflammation that results in a coma.

There is no vaccine for Nipah.

Patients have a mortality rate of between 40 and 75 percent depending on the public health response to the virus, the WHO says. 

With Agence France -Presse