A highly lethal virus has struck more than 40 people in central Bangladesh with encephalitis, and killed 14. The World Health Organisation has reported that dozens more cases are under investigation.
Tests point to the Nipah virus, which was first encountered in Malaysia in 1999. The virus normally infects fruit bats, and is known to easily ‘jump’ into other species such as pigs.
Researchers from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have now isolated the Bangladeshi virus and should soon find out whether it is Nipah or a close relative. Although there is no cure for Nipah, a vaccine is in development.