Updated May 23, 2018

Deadly outbreak of Nipah virus in India calls for urgent response

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.

The threat of emerging infectious diseases — particularly ones with the potential to jump species and spread by airborne droplets — requires urgent global attention, transparent information-sharing and a coordinated response. Nipah can cause encephalitis (inflammation of the lining of the brain) as well as pulmonary disease, which, by inducing coughs, increases the chance of person-to-person spread.

What’s next: Measures taken now by health officials in the state of Kerala, along with experts from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences and the Indian National Center for Disease Control (NCDC), will be critical to keeping this outbreak in check. Careful epidemiological analysis, implementation of isolation and quarantine measures, and solid, forthright risk communications will all be important strategies implemented in the coming days.

Dan Hanfling is a contributing scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security and clinical professor of emergency medicine at George Washington University.

Go deeper

Mass shooting in Milwaukee: What we know so far

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett in 2012. Photo: John Gress/Corbis via Getty Images

Six people died in a shooting at the Milwaukee Molson Coors brewery complex on Wednesday, including the shooter, Mayor Tom Barrett told reporters at an evening press conference with local police.

What's happening: Police said "there is no active threat" just before 6 pm ET, but noted the scene remains active. Police chief Alfonso Morales told reporters that officers have "more than 20 buildings we have to secure" at the complex and they do not currently have all employees accounted for, as more than 1,000 were at the complex during the shooting.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 14 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Live updates: CDC confirms possible community spread of coronavirus

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

U.S. clinicians have found the novel coronavirus in a person who did not recently return from a foreign country nor have contact with a confirmed case, the CDC said Tuesday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 2,700 people and infected over 81,000 others. By Wednesday morning, South Korea had the most cases outside China, with 1,261 infections. Europe's biggest outbreak is in Italy, where 374 cases have been confirmed.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 30 mins ago - Health

Trump assigns Pence to lead U.S. coronavirus response

Photo: ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump announced at a press briefing Wednesday evening that he'll be putting Vice President Mike Pence in charge of leading the administration's response to the coronavirus.

The big picture: In the wake of a market sell-off and warnings from health officials that there's a real threat of the coronavirus spreading in the U.S., Trump sought to reassure the nation and Wall Street that the U.S. is "ready" for whatever comes next.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy