A Nipah virus patient from Manikganj has died in hospital care in Dhaka, the first fatality from the disease reported in Bangladesh this year.
The patient, Babul Hossain, was admitted to Manikganj Sadar Hospital on Jan 16 and then transferred to Popular Hospital in Dhaka when his condition deteriorated, Manikganj Civil Surgeon Dr Moazzem Ali Khan Chowdhury said on Sunday.
The private hospital sent his samples to the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research and the test results turned positive on Jan 24.
Babul, a native of Sadar Upazila’s Putail village, died after he was transferred again to Infectious Diseases Hospital on Saturday, Dr Moazzem said.
Dr Mizanur Rahman, the superintendent of the Infectious Diseases Hospital, and Dr Tahmina Shirin, the director at the IEDCR, also confirmed Babul’s death from Nipah virus infection.
The fatality has come nearly one and a half months after the government issued a warning for the deadly virus this winter.
The virus is transmitted through raw date juice that contains the excrement or saliva of infected bats. Anyone who drinks infected juice will get the disease.
The Directorate General of Health Services warned people against eating fruits partially eaten by birds or bats, consuming raw date juice, and advised them to wash fruits well with water before eating.
The DGHS also urged date juice collectors and vendors not to sell raw juice to anyone. There is, however, no restriction on eating jaggery made from date or palm juice.
The symptoms of Nipah include fever, headache, convulsions, delirium, fainting, and, in some cases, shortness of breath. The disease poses a major health risk.
Anyone who shows symptoms of Nipah should be sent to the hospital immediately and those who have come in contact with the patient must wash their hands thoroughly with soap.
The viral disease with a fatality rate of over 70 percent has spread across Bangladesh in the past few years.
Ten of the 14 people who were infected with the disease last winter died.
Cases were found in Rajbari, Shariatpur, Pabna, Natore, Rajshahi and Narsingdi in 2023, with the southern and southwestern regions seeing more cases.
Nipah was first detected in Bangladesh in 2001 in Meherpur. In 2004, there were more cases and deaths from the disease. Of the 67 patients that year, 50 died.