Not having time to recover from the situation with the coronavirus, the world may find itself on the verge of a new pandemic – this time of the Nipah virus, the WHO warns .
The carriers of the infection are all the same fruit bats, flying foxes that have already provoked outbreaks in Malaysia, India, Singapore, and Bangladesh.
In order not to provoke a new catastrophe in the world, doctors advise avoiding contact with vectors, handling food, and also being attentive to the rules of personal hygiene.
WHO Warns of a New Pandemic
The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned of the prospect of a new pandemic – this time it could be caused by the Nipah virus (Nipah) or NiV, according to the organization’s website.
The first outbreak of a dangerous disease was detected in 1999. Pig farmers living in the valley of the Nipah River were then infected. As scientists later found out, the infection passed to humans as a result of contact with sick pigs.
Those, in turn, became infected after eating dates – the urine of flying foxes, natural carriers of the virus, could remain on these fruits. The fruit bats themselves do not get sick with NiV, but only transmit it to other organisms.
In 2004, the disease also struck Bangladeshians who drank palm juice, which contained secretions from flying foxes.
Human-to-human transmission has also been reported, including in a hospital in India, says the WHO website.
In total, since the inception of the infection, 12 outbreaks of the dangerous virus have already been recorded in the world, while individual cases are recorded in South Asia every year.
The last mass infection occurred in 2008 in Bangladesh, then the death rate among those infected was about 38%.
Much Deadlier than Covid-19
According to experts, in different cases, the death rate from NiV can range from 40% to 75%, while the virus itself is spreading very quickly and has every chance of first provoking an epidemic, and then spreading around the world and developing into a pandemic.
The incubation period is four to 45 days. Nipah, like the coronavirus, flows in various forms – from asymptomatic to fatal encephalitis. The first symptoms are similar to the flu: people have fever, headaches and muscle aches, vomiting, and sore throat.
Subsequently, dizziness, drowsiness, and altered consciousness may also be added, and in some cases, doctors fix atypical pneumonia and acute respiratory failure.
In especially severe cases, encephalitis and convulsions develop, leading to coma after two or three days.
Recovering from Nipah is not easy: in 20% of cases, people suffer for life from residual neurological consequences, such as incessant convulsions and personality changes. Some may develop encephalitis after they recover. At the same time, there is no medicine, like vaccines, for the harmful virus yet.
How to Avoid Another Pandemic? WHO Advises
The only way to keep the planet safe, according to WHO, is to reduce the access of flying foxes to date palms and other foodstuffs that they can infect.
Doctors advise boiling freshly picked date juice, and washing and peeling fruits before drinking. Sick animals should also be handled only in protective suits and preferably sent for slaughter as soon as possible.
In order not to catch the virus from other people, it is also worth continuing to adhere to the same rules as during the coronavirus pandemic: do not contact the infected, wash your hands thoroughly and use masks and gloves.
Scientists Are Concerned About a New Pandemic
Scientists are particularly concerned about the new virus because the world is not ready to survive a new pandemic. Alexander Lavrishchev, the therapist of the Semeynaya network of clinics, told Gazeta.Ru that against the background of coronavirus infection, most people have a very weakened immune system, which makes them more vulnerable to other diseases.
Now you need to be especially careful about yourself and your health, avoiding the slightest risk of getting infected with something, the doctor emphasized.
On January 27, Microsoft founder, philanthropist, and multi-billionaire Bill Gates also stressed that a new pandemic could have even more dire consequences for the world.
We are not ready for the next pandemic. I hope the situation will look different in two years. Vaccines, tests, medicines, epidemiology, monitoring – there is a lot that can be done, he told the German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung.
First of all, people need to learn a lesson from the current pandemic and continue to better prepare for the possible emergence of new infections, Gates is sure.
Especially given the fact that doctors are already talking about outbreaks of new viruses – according to one of the scenarios that the founder of Microsoft drew public attention to in the fall of 2020, a new pandemic could begin in three years.
By that time, humanity should be ready, he stressed: “The second time we will not be so stupid.”
And What is the SFTS Virus?
Earlier, China also warned of the threat of a deadly new virus, SFTS, which is transmitted through ticks. As reported by the Global Times, in the first half of the year, more than 37 people were infected with the virus in Jiangsu province, later 23 more cases were reported in Anhui province. Seven people died from the disease.
SFTS is not a new virus; Chinese scientists isolated it from the blood of patients back in 2009. Thereafter, small outbreaks also occurred in 2013 and 2017 in South Korea and Japan, but the 2020 outbreak was recognized as the largest.
SFTS is transmitted by the ixodid ticks Haemaphysalis longicornis, Ixodes nipponensis, Amblyomma testudinarium, and Rhipicephalus microplus, and through contact with the blood or secretions of an infected person.
The mortality rate of the disease is 12%, in some regions it can reach 30%. The main symptoms are fever, vomiting, diarrhea, multiple organ failure, thrombocytopenia (low platelet count), leukopenia (low white blood cell count), and elevated liver enzymes.
Ecologist Had Predicted the Covid-19 Pandemic
The emergence of a new pandemic in May 2020 was also predicted by Brazilian ecologist David Lapolla. In his opinion, the spread of the virus may begin in the rainforests of the Amazon, which now harbor many infectious pathogens. The speed of urban sprawl is forcing people to get rid of such wild territories by releasing viruses into cities.
As Lapola noted, the destruction of wild ecosystems and environmental instability have already led to the spread of HIV, dengue, and Ebola. And although most modern outbreaks now begin in South Asia and Africa, the Amazon may soon become the center of epidemics caused by new types of pathogens.