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Saturday, January 28, 2012

Bangladesh : Nipah? Avoid date with raw date sap

Via BDNews 24 :

" As nipah strikes back, with at least five deaths reported so far in Joypurhat district in northern Bangladesh, prospects of fresh outbreaks of this fruit bat-borne viral infection looms large, according to health department officials.

While experts say a simple measure — not drinking raw date juice — can prevent the virus from infecting, government records show it has killed 155 of 201 infected, spreading from one district to another, since 2001, when the virus first struck as an 'unknown' ailment.

"It is totally preventable if we avoid drinking raw date sap," said Prof Mahmudur Rahman, director of the Institute of Epidemiology Disease Control and Research (IEDCR), which oversees emerging and re-emerging diseases in Bangladesh.

"But once infected, we don't have a cure -- it's highly fatal. This year the fatality has been 100 percent so far," he said.

A highly contagious disease, Prof Rahman said the virus can pass from person to person by contact.


Nipah was first detected in Malaysia in 1998 but at present Bangladesh, a hotspot for emerging diseases, is the only country in the world that reports the disease.

Nipah has become a cause of concern for the health authorities since it strikes every year during Jan to April.

Though it is believed that border districts of India have the virus, reports are not available from the Indian government to confirm it.

This year, while IEDCR is grappling to check the spread in Joypurhat district's Sadarpara and Khetlal upazillas, where five persons died in this month's outbreak, the district civil surgeon says new suspects of infection are emerging from the area.

"We received at least five suspected infections (in hospitals)," civil surgeon Mozammal Haque told on Thursday."

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