Nipah virus resurfaces in India’s Kerala after killing 17 last year

Doctors and relatives wearing protective gear carry the body of a victim, who lost his battle against the brain-damaging Nipah virus, during his funeral at a burial ground in Kozhikode, in the southern Indian state of Kerala, India, May 24, 2018. (REUTERS)
Updated 05 June 2019

Nipah virus resurfaces in India’s Kerala after killing 17 last year

  • More than 100 people died in that outbreak that year, and about a million pigs were killed to try to halt its spread

NEW DELHI: The deadly brain-damaging Nipah virus has resurfaced in the southern Indian state of Kerala a year after it killed 17 people, state officials said on Tuesday.
A 23-year-old student tested positive for the virus, which is transmitted to humans through direct contact with infected bats, pigs or other people.
Kerala Health Minister K.K. Shailaja told reporters that four other people had Nipah-like symptoms. Another 80 people were being monitored, including some who were in close contact with the student.
Shailaja said isolation wards had been set up across the state, where 19 cases were reported last year.
India’s national health and wildlife ministries are working to test and identify bats with the virus, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said in New Delhi.
“There is no need for panic,” he told reporters.
There is no vaccine for the virus which can cause encephalitis, or inflammation of the brain, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). It recommends treatment through supportive care.
Nipah is on the WHO’s research and development “priority pathogen” list alongside Ebola, Zika, MERS, Lassa and Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever.
The virus was first identified in 1999 during an outbreak of illness affecting pig farmers and others in close contact with pigs in Malaysia and Singapore.
More than 100 people died in that outbreak that year, and about a million pigs were killed to try to halt its spread.


UK’s Boris Johnson likens himself to The Incredible Hulk

Updated 11 min 30 sec ago

UK’s Boris Johnson likens himself to The Incredible Hulk

  • Johnson said he will meet the Oct. 31 deadline no matter what
  • “The madder Hulk gets, the stronger Hulk gets,” he told the Mail

LONDON: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has compared himself to The Incredible Hulk in a newspaper interview emphasizing his determination to take Britain out of the European Union next month.
Johnson faces considerable legal and political hurdles but told the Mail on Sunday he will meet the Oct. 31 deadline no matter what.
“The madder Hulk gets, the stronger Hulk gets,” he told the widely read tabloid, invoking the comic book and film character known for formidable but destructive strength.
Johnson remains defiant even though Parliament has passed a law requiring him to seek an extension to the deadline if no deal is reached by mid-October. He has also lost his working majority in Parliament and been told by Scotland’s highest court that his decision to suspend Parliament was illegal.
Johnson portrays himself as more convinced than ever that Britain will break with the EU at the end of October.
He will have a lunchtime meeting in Luxembourg on Monday with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker to try to modify the Irish backstop that has been a main sticking point, but EU leaders did not seem impressed by Johnson’s invocation of the Hulk.
The European Parliament’s Brexit coordinator, Guy Verhofstadt, said the comments showed a lack of maturity.
“Even to Trumpian standards the Hulk comparison is infantile,” he tweeted. “Is the EU supposed to be scared by this? The British public impressed?“
Juncker, who has downplayed hopes of a breakthrough at Monday’s meeting, also expressed alarm that many people in Britain seem to feel a British departure without a deal with the EU would be a positive thing.
“It would be terrible chaos,” he said in an interview with Germany’s Deutschlandfunk radio. “And we would need years to put things back in order. Anyone who loves his country, and I assume that there are still patriots in Britain, would not want to wish his country such a fate.”
The Oct. 31 deadline looms large because Johnson has not said he will seek another extension if no deal is reached, despite legislation passed by Parliament shortly before it was suspended.
Britain’s Supreme Court this week will rule on whether Johnson overstepped the law when he shut the legislature for a crucial five-week period.
The Liberal Democrats, who have been enjoying a revival, voted overwhelmingly at their party conference Sunday to end the Brexit process entirely if they come to power.
Party leader Jo Swinson said Article 50, which triggered Brexit, would be revoked if she becomes prime minister.
The party gained an important member Saturday with the defection of Sam Gyimah, a former Conservative minister. He is the sixth legislator to switch allegiance and join the Liberal Democrats this year.
Johnson also continues to take flak from former Prime Minister David Cameron, who called the 2016 referendum on Brexit.
Cameron said in an interview published Sunday that Johnson didn’t really believe in Brexit when he broke ranks and led the campaign to take Britain out of the EU. Cameron had been expecting Johnson’s help during the hard-fought campaign.
Cameron says of Johnson: “The conclusion I am left with is that he risked an outcome he didn’t believe in because it would help his political career.”
Cameron is giving interviews to gain publicity for his upcoming memoirs.