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Monday, February 13, 2012

Bangladesh : Concern over deaths from incurable fruit bat disease

Via IRIN News :

" An outbreak of the Nipah virus in northern Bangladesh has killed 30 people since the start of 2011, prompting national health warnings against the fatal pathogen spread by fruit bats. Everyone who got infected, died.

“Only by stopping the consumption of the raw sap, can this disease be stopped. Despite our many attempts at raising awareness, people are ignoring the warnings and as a result, are getting infected,” warned Health Minister A.F.M. Ruhal Haque.

Palm tree sap, often served fresh, is a popular drink in rural areas.

Six people from the northern Joypurhat District have died thus far in 2012 and 24 during the same period in 2011.

“In the last two years, the mortality rate has been 100 percent. Once the disease sets in, nothing much can be done,” Mahmudur Rahman, director of the non-governmental Dhaka-based Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR), told IRIN.

Named after the Malaysian village where the disease cross-over from pigs to humans was first discovered, Nipah virus (NiV) was diagnosed in people in 1998 in Malaysia and Singapore, then 2001 in Bangladesh.

Since then there have been 10 outbreaks in Bangladesh, killing 157 of 208 infected persons, according to IEDCR."

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