An outbreak of the Nipah virus in China with a fatality rate of up to 75 percent, could potentially be the next big pandemic after COVID-19, according to a report by the Access to Medicine Foundation.
“Nipah virus is another emerging infectious disease that causes great concern. Nipah could blow any moment. The next pandemic could be a drug-resistant infection,” The Guardian quoted Jayasree K Iyer, the executive director of the Netherlands-based Access to Medicine Foundation, as saying.
The virus is rare and spread by fruit bats, which can cause flu-like symptoms and brain damage. It can cause encephalitis, or inflammation of the brain, according to the World Health Organization. The usual treatment is supportive care.
However, an outbreak of the Nipah virus in India’s southern state Kerala in 2018 claimed 17 lives with countries like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates temporarily placing a ban on frozen and processed fruit and vegetable imports from Kerala as a result of the outbreak there.
At that time, health officials believed that Nipah outbreaks in Bangladesh and India were perhaps associated with the drinking of date palm juice.