A study in the New England Journal of Medicine reports that older patients with respiratory symptoms transmitted Nipah virus to others at a greater rate, according to data collected in Bangladesh.

Risk for infection with Nipah virus was also highest among individuals with prolonged contact with these patients, especially spouses.

“…Contacts exposed to body fluids, including respiratory secretions, were more likely to get infected than others,” Birgit Nikolay, PhD, MSc, a postdoc in the mathematical modeling of infectious diseases unit at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, told Infectious Disease News.

Found throughout South Asia and Southeast Asia, Nipah virus is a zoonotic pathogen, transmitted to humans mostly through exposure to bats. It is highly virulent, with a more than 70% case fatality rate, Nikolay and colleagues noted. There are no available treatments or vaccines.

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