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Nipah virus infection from palm juice in Bangladesh

There have been 10 recorded deaths from Nipah virus encephalitis in Bangladesh over the recent month. Human Nipah virus infection, an emerging zoonotic disease, was first  recognised in a large outbreak in Malaysia and Singapore in1988/89 but  recently only Bagladesh has reported cases and in the current outbreak, as at February 4th,  139 patients out of 180 infected people have died  of the infection.The reservoir of  Nipah virus are giant fruit bats (_Pteropus_ species). They shed virus, particularly during the breeding season when pregnant or lactating, and droppings affect date palm sap which  is widely used as a drink and it is in this way that people become infected. Because these are  sporadic cases occur in geographically scattered areas increasing public awareness of the need for either boiling the sap or preventing access to sap collection vessels by the bats by placing barriers around the jars, is a major public health education challenge.

Individual prevention involves drinking date juice only after its been properly boiled and discarding fruit that may have been partially eaten by batss. Raw fruit must only be eaten after thorough washing.

 

 

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