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February 13th, 2012 posted by Paul Rega, MD, FACEP February 13, 2012 @ 5:42 am

Bangladesh: Nipah Virus Outbreak Due to Drinking Raw Date Sap

BD News, Bangladesh

Tue, Feb 7th, 2012 4:55 pm BdST

Dhaka, Jan 27 ( – “As the government grapples to control the highly infectious and fatal nipah virus, health minister AFM Ruhal Haque has said that people do not want to accept health messages by breaking away from tradition.

Experts say a simple practice of not drinking raw date sap, or juice, can prevent the virus from infecting.

“(But) people do not care to abide by the message. We spread messages every year, but they (people) don’t accept. It (drinking raw sap) is an age-old custom in rural Bangladesh,” AFM Ruhal Haque said……..

All six infected people died in Joypurhat in this year’s first outbreak of the disease last month……..
As of Feb 7, nipah has killed 157 people out of 208 infected since 2001……..The virus usually comes from fruit bats. A study using infrared cameras found that fruit bats perch on jars put up on palm trees to collect the sap, and try to drink the juice. They also urinate into the pot.

“Its (bat’s) saliva and urine carry the virus,” Prof Rahman said. But boiled sap, he said, is good enough to drink, as the virus is killed in 70 degrees Celsius. ………”

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