BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: World: Asia-Pacific
Front Page 
World 
Africa 
Americas 
Asia-Pacific 
Europe 
Middle East 
South Asia 
-------------
From Our Own Correspondent 
-------------
Letter From America 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 
Saturday, 24 June, 2000, 12:50 GMT 13:50 UK
Pig virus found in bats
Pig farm
The disease has previously mainly affected pigs
Scientists in Malaysia have discovered traces of the deadly Nipah virus in a kind of fruit bat found across south-east Asia.

One hundred people died last year when the virus, which mainly affects pigs, was spread to humans through contact with the urine and mucus of infected animals.

According to scientists from the University of Malaya, there is no evidence the virus could be transmitted directly to humans by bats.

However, Malaysian deputy health minister, Suleiman Mohamad said he believes the disease, a new strain of encephalitis, may be making a comeback.

The latest finding comes after last week's mass slaughter of pigs at farms in the north of the country, when some animals tested positive for the same disease.

Farm workers were told to undergo medical examinations. Blood samples have been sent to Australia for further testing.

Epidemic

More than a 100 people died, and over a million pigs were slaughtered after an outbreak last year of what was initially diagnosed as Japanese encephalitis, a virus spread from pigs to humans by mosquitoes.

Further studies showed the outbreak was actually caused by a new virus capable of infecting dogs, cats, pigs, bats and horses.

Villagers flee
Hundreds of villagers fled their homes during last year's outbreak

A tight security cordon was thrown around affected areas in the south-west of the country to prevent the disease spreading.

However, Suleiman Mohamad believes that piglets smuggled out of contaminated farms during the last outbreak could cause further epidemics.

The Nipah virus, which is lethal to humans in about 40% of cases, was named after the village in Malaysia where it first surfaced.

Health officers complain that despite the huge publicity at the time the virus was discovered, some pig breeders still haven't got the message to maintain stricter hygiene standards to prevent disease.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE
See also:

30 Mar 99 | Medical notes
Japanese encephalitis
21 Mar 99 | Asia-Pacific
Pig slaughter begins in Malaysia
28 Mar 99 | Asia-Pacific
Malaysian pig cull extended
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Asia-Pacific stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Asia-Pacific stories