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Deadly outbreak of Nipah virus in India calls for urgent response

nimal Husbandry department and Forest officials deposit a bat into a container after catching it inside a well at Changaroth in Kozhikode in the Indian state of Kerala on May 21, 2018.
Government workers deposit a bat into a container after catching it in the Indian state of Kerala, where a deadly bat-borne virus has killed at least 10 people. Photo: AFP via Getty Images.

The Nipah virus has been confirmed as the culprit in a cluster of patients in the Indian state of Kerala, killing at least 10 people and leaving 2 others critically ill. A relatively rare virus harbored in fruit bats and pigs, Nipah has a fatality rate above 70% and has no cure.

Why it matters: A person infected in Kerala today could be in New Delhi or Frankfurt or Washington tomorrow. The 2014–15 West Africa Ebola outbreak highlighted just how threatening a runaway epidemic can become.