The Nipah virus was identified in 1999 when nearly 300 people in Singapore and Malaysia were infected by an outbreak that primarily affected pig farmers. To stop the spread of the virus, more than a million pigs were euthanized. The virus has since been identified in India and Bangladesh, where outbreaks occur almost yearly. Nipah spreads to humans from animals and through direct contact with other infected individuals. The death rate is nearly 75%.
The Nipah virus is a zoonotic virus, which means it is transmitted from animals to humans. Outbreaks have occurred in including horses, sheep, goats, dogs, and cats, but the virus is most potent in pigs. Infected pigs often display no symptoms and are often assumed to have a minor respiratory illness. They are highly infectious during the four to 14 day incubation period.
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