Microbiology expert: Nipah Virus has the potential to cause another pandemic

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LECTURER of the Faculty of Medicine, Universitas Airlangga (UNAIR) as well as Dr. Soetomo Hospital Surabaya Dr. Agung Dwi Wahyu Widodo dr., M.Si. (Photo: Personal document)

UNAIR NEWS – Nipah virus is a virus that was first discovered in Malaysia in 1999. This virus caused an outbreak among pig breeders there in the same year. The outbreak in Malaysia also affected Singapore. Transmission of the virus was caused by direct human contact with sick pigs or contaminated tissue.

“This virus has the potential to become the second pandemic. Because the nature of the virus and the mode of transmission are similar to SARS-CoV-2,” explained Dr. Agung Dwi Wahyu Widodo dr., M.Si, M.Ked.Klin, SpMK. lecturer in the Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Medicine, Universitas Airlangga (UNAIR).

The symptoms resemble influenza’s such as chills, fever, and sore muscles. The World Health Organization (WHO) on its website states that the death rate for this virus is estimated at 75 percent.

There are several things that cause the death rate to reach 75 percent, first, less comprehensive handling and second, the symptoms are not common and occur very quickly. Third, there is no vaccine or cure for this virus.

“There is no specific treatment for this virus. The treatment is only supportive management so that the patient can survive, “he said.

“A vaccine for this virus has not yet been found. So prevention can be too late, “he added.

This virus has the potential to cause a pandemic because there is already human-to-human transmission. WHO noted that in 2001, the Nipah virus outbreak occurred in Siliguri, India. Transmission of the virus occured in healthcare services as 75 percent of cases occurred in hospital staff and visitors.

“Pandemics can happen because even though they are caused by fruit bats, person-to-person transmission has occurred. The incubation period is also similar to that of SARS-CoV-2, which is around 5 to 14 days, ” concluded the member of IDI East Java Covid-19 Task Force Board of experts . (*)

Author: Icha Nur Imami Puspita

Editor: Feri Fenoria

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