With its weak healthcare facilities Bangladesh is vulnerable to outbreak of Nipah virus infection, experts expressed fears Tuesday.
At a view exchange on Nipah virus spread hosted by the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research, they said that the highly infectious Nipah virus with high mortality rate was now a threat to public health.
They said that the Nipah virus, NiV to doctors, ‘draws less public attention.’
Prevention is also neglected, they said.
The virus is believed to be transmitted from drinking Nipah-contaminated raw date palm sap.
Flying fox, a fruit bat, transmits the virus in winter when date juice, collected from date tree, is consumed.
Speaking at the discussion, IEDCR director Meerjady Sabrina Flora said the first NiV outbreak occurred in Bangladesh in 2001 and at least 305 NiV cases were identified in last 19 years and 212 of them died, she said.
‘NiV has high mortality rate, but people are not aware about it’, she said.
Meerjady said boiled date juice was safe for consumption. By organizing the festival of raw date juice the Institute of Fine Arts of Dhaka University sends a wrong message to the public, she said.
IEDCR virology senior scientist ASM Alamgir said that the raw date juice enjoys widespread popularity in Bangladesh in winter.
He advised people to consumed boiled date juice to prevent outbreaks caused by a single patient.
According to a study published in the Journal of Medical Virology in January 2019, that recurrent NiV outbreaks occurred in several districts in Bangladesh since 2001.
The study says 13 Nipah outbreaks per year occurred in many districts until 2015, with 261 lab confirmed cases and 199 deaths.
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