Futurity

Will bat-borne Nipah virus be the next global pandemic?

Nipah virus has a mortality rate of up to 70 percent—and there is no vaccine or cure. In light of a recent outbreak in India, epidemiologist Stephen Luby discusses the risk factors and potential interventions.

A recent outbreak in South India has renewed interest in Nipah virus, a disease with no vaccine or cure that generally spreads from bats or pigs to humans and kills nearly three-quarters of those infected.

The virus, discovered 20 years ago, has so far killed 11 people in the current outbreak, with 14 additional cases confirmed. It has many strains capable of spreading from person to person, which increases the chances of a strain emerging that rapidly spreads among South Asia’s densely populated communities and beyond.

Stanford University epidemiologist and Nipah expert Stephen Luby is coauthor of a study in the Journal of Infectious Diseases linking changes in temperature with the virus’s spread from bats to humans and another in EcoHealth examining the impact of behavioral changes that reduce the likelihood of people consuming potentially virus-contaminated tree sap.

Here, Luby talks about the risks posed by the current Nipah virus outbreak and interventions that could slow or halt its transmission.

The post Will bat-borne Nipah virus be the next global pandemic? appeared first on Futurity.

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