India is rushing to contain the outbreak of a virus that has claimed the life of a 12-year-old boy and is even deadlier than the COVID-19 - Nipah virus.
Last week the boy was taken to the hospital in southern Kerala with a high fever and brain inflammation. After tests, he was diagnosed with the Nipah virus and died Sunday.
Officials quarantine and hospitalization on 188 people using contact tracing to prevent a widespread outbreak.
Experts believe that the Nipah virus has the potential for the next pandemic.
John Lednicky, a research professor of the University of Florida's Environmental and Global Health department, said, "This is one of those viruses we really need to pay attention to."
World Health Organization(WHO) states that 40% to 75% of Nipah cases are fatal compared to the COVID-19 fatality rate of around 2%.
The Nipah virus source is fruit bats, also known as flying foxes, because of their large size. It is also transmitted through infected food and directly between people.
Lednicky said, "There's no good treatment for it, They put you in the hospital, but there's really nothing much else they can do for you."
Lednicky told people in the U.S. should not worry about the Nipah virus because it has been isolated in Asia regions where fruit bats are found.
However, there's always a possibility that someone can bring the virus into a new area.
Lednicky said, "The concern really is how people travel, Years ago when travel was more restricted, you didn't see unusual pathogens travelling."
Lednicky hopes that U.S. can learn from the COVID-19 pandemic and take on a more proactive approach versus a reactive one.
"There are going to be more emerging pathogens," he said.
"It seems like history repeats itself because we're unprepared."
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