Nipah's Return; September 2004; Scientific American Magazine; by Charles Choi; 2 Page(s)
In February the Nipah virus reemerged, killing 35 people in Bangladesh in two outbreaks. Although the number of victims is small, the deaths have health officials worried. Unlike its first appearance in Malaysia in September 1998, the virus in Bangladesh may have jumped from person to person, raising concern about its ability to spread farther and faster.
Nipah is a henipavirus, a family named after its two only known members, Hendra and Nipah (both take their appellations from the places they first struck). Distant relatives of measles, henipaviruses appear to reside naturally in flying foxes, the world's largest bats. The virus spreads through bodily fluids such as saliva or urine.