Had enough of Covid-19? Nipah is Next.

As the world continues to struggle with the Covid virus (delta variant this year), the scientists are now warning of a resurgence of a different virus.

Although first discovered in 1980s, it first entered human culture in 1998, it arrived in central Malaysia by air, inside furry bats that lived on the fruit trees swaying over pig farms. But The bats dropped some of their half-consumed meals, which the pigs consumed. Then, the pigs coughed and transferred it to the pig workers.

Within 8 months, 105 Malaysians or about 40 percent of those infected, died of the virus, now dubbed Nipah. It caused fevers, brain inflammation, and comas.

It was then traced back to bats for disease investigation. Nipah erupts annually in Bangladesh, killing people at even greater rate as the country increased industrialization. Sometimes, the virus even broke out in India.

This week, the WHO identified Nipah as the Disease X that could potentially cause human epidemics. Up to 75 percent of new infectious diseases impacting humans right now are related to wild animal source, as human population gets closer to wildlife and raise livestock; the livestock becoming the link between wildlife and humans in transferring dangerous diseases.

Initially, the Nipah outbreak had been linked to mosquitoes, so mosquitoes were exterminated; however, pigs were continuously exported, and those outside of Malaysia got sick. Eventually, the scientists realized they’d found a new paramyxovirus that affected the pigs.

When the investigators arrived in Malaysia, the local folks explained the fearful sound of pigs coughing, dubbed “one-mile barking cough” that one could hear a mile away, coming closer and closer to one’s own piggery, before one would also get sick.

To deal with this outbreak, the Malaysian government performed a massive culling, killing one million pigs that spring; it did stop the disease temporarily. However, ultimately, as humans get closer to wild habitats and wildlife, this is only a higher possibility every year. Recently, scientists revealed that more than 47,000 wild animals were sold in markets in Wuhan, China, in the two years prior to the Covid-19 outbreak. Bats unlike other mammals do not have struggle with these quite horrific viruses, which scientists believe is due to their ability to fly, which suppresses inflammation.

Unlike other animals, bats being mammal can pose a problem for other mammals, such as pigs, dogs, and even humans due to the genetic similarity, making humans vulnerable.

Malaysia is therefore, very alert about Covid-19 because they don’t want to deal with Nipah like outbreak again.

Nipah does not yet have a vaccine or treatment.

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