Jakarta, CNN Indonesia –
The Ministry of Health asked all parties to remain alert to potential threats nipah virus which has recently become the object of concern for world health experts.
Concern about the virus, which originates from the name of a village in Malaysia, Sungai Nipah, arises, because the nipah virus is said to have a mortality rate of 75 percent and so far a vaccine has not been found.
“Indonesia must always be aware of the potential for nipah virus transmission from pigs in Malaysia through fruit-eating bats. This is because several research results show that fruit bats move regularly from Peninsular Malaysia to Sumatra Island, especially North Sumatra which is close to Malaysia,” said the Director. Prevention and Control of Vector Transmitted and Zoonotic Diseases of the Ministry of Health Didik Budijanto when contacted CNNIndonesia.com, Wednesday (27/1).
However, Didik emphasized that until now the nipah virus has never been reported as indicated in Indonesia. Even though in 1999 the virus attacked neighboring countries, causing death in pigs, as well as humans.
“Until now, the incidence of nipah virus infection has never been reported in Indonesia,” he said.
Didik explained based on the results of research that had been carried out by his party, and the potential threat of the virus entering the country. He also warned all parties to be aware of the origin of the spread of the nipah virus through the livestock trade.
Especially in the midst of the corona virus (Covid-19) pandemic, he asked all parties to keep tightening the belts together to ward off the potential for an epidemic to a new pandemic in Indonesia.
“So there is a possibility of spreading the Nipah virus through bats or through the illegal pig trade from Malaysia to Indonesia,” he concluded.
Separately, Griffith University Epidemiologist Dicky Budiman said the nipah virus is infectious in one population. Then the distribution can consume three quarters of the population. Thus, according to Dicky, this is what causes the virus to be at the top of the list of viruses to watch out for as the next pandemic.
“The death rate can be up to 75 percent, which makes him also become a pandemic. Then he is easily and quickly transmitted. That means three out of four infected people can die, that’s very high,” said Dicky.
In addition, the nipah virus must be watched seriously because it has varied clinical manifestations or clinical symptoms. Some are symptomatic to cause respiratory problems to encephalitis or inflammation of the brain.
Then, something that has not gone unnoticed is the readiness of the government to strengthen the domestic health system and facilities. According to him, with this nipah virus, the government must be prepared for a multiple increase in deaths.
“Of course if we are not ready our health system will have more cases of death. Because it could be double or triple the number of deaths, “he said.
The Nipah virus first spread in Malaysia in 1999. It is thought that nearly 300 people caught the virus from infected pigs. The pig was suspected of being sick due to contracting the Nipah virus, after eating the rest of the fruit eaten by bats from the Pteropodidae family that carried the virus.
The plague ended after about a million pigs were sacrificed. However, the number of people who died from contracting the virus reached 109. Seeing the potential threat again, in March 2020, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparation (CEPI) spent US $ 25 million on research and clinical trials of the Nipah virus vaccine against humans.