Brain swelling virus with no cure kills boy, 12, sparking expert fears of new pandemic – World News

The mortality rate of deadly Nipah virus ranges between 40 to 75% – far higher than the 1% rate for those with coronavirus, according to worrying World Health Organisation data

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Authorities in India are racing to contain an outbreak of the Nipah virus after a young boy was killed by the brain-swelling condition.

The mortality rate of Nipah ranges between 40 to 75%, far higher than the 1% rate for coronavirus, according to the World Health Organisation.

Scientists have been growing worried about the disease since February, with fears heightening that it could potentially becoming the next ‘big’ worldwide virus.

Officials in India’s southern Kerala state are concerned after the child, 12, died at the weekend.

The death prompted the area to step-up efforts to trace his contacts and new infections have been confirmed.

The World Health Organisation has reportedly listed the Nipah virus as one of 16 priority diseases


DeFodi Images via Getty Images)

According to reports, the boy had visited two other hospitals before he died, putting him in contact with potentially hundreds of people.

“The virus has been shown to spread from person-to-person in these outbreaks, raising concerns about the potential for NiV to cause a global pandemic,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

Health officials are urgently testing as many of the boy’s contacts as possible.

“That these eight immediate contacts tested negative is a great relief,” said the state health minister, Veena George.

People have been losing their lives to the disease for years, and a funeral took place in 2018



The fruit bat-borne disease has sparked fears among experts as it is high rate of mutation and is extremely deadly.

Vomiting, seizures and brain swelling are some of the symptoms of the virus, which first jumped from pigs to farmers in Malaysia in 1999.

Nipah is particularly worrying as it has high rate of mutation and an incubation period of up to 45 days, meaning a person could spread it for more than a month before falling sick.

Scientists are worried that the next pandemic could be far worse than the coronavirus crisis.

Vomiting and seizures are some of the symptoms of the Nipah virus


DeFodi Images via Getty Images)

There is no cure or vaccine for Nipah yet, and patients are only given supportive medical care.

Dr Melanie Saville, head of vaccine research and development at the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, told The Sun earlier this year that the world needs to be ready for ‘the big one’.

She said that although there are no current Nipah outbreaks in the world, it is ‘extremely likely’ another will happen in the future.

“Nipah is one of the viruses that could absolutely be the cause of a new pandemic. Several things about Nipah are very concerning,” she said.

“Most crucially, we shouldn’t just be looking at Nipah.

“We know that a future pandemic is inevitable, and there are many other emerging infectious diseases that are recognised as having pandemic potential.”

She said known diseases, such as influenza, could turn into pandemics, as well as unidentified viruses, known as ‘Disease X’.

The World Health Organisation has reportedly listed the Nipah virus as one of 16 priority pathogens that need to be researched due to their potential to spark an epidemic.

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