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Model predicts bat species with potential to spread Nipah virus

Since its discovery in 1999, Nipah virus has been reported almost yearly in Southeast Asia, with Bangladesh and India the hardest hit. In a new study, scientists used machine learning to identify bat species with the potential to host Nipah virus, with a focus on India -- the site of a 2018 outbreak. Four new bat species were flagged as surveillance priorities. Nipah virus is a lethal henipavirus that can be transmitted to people from infected bats. Eating fruit or drinking date palm sap contaminated by the bats is a noted transmission pathway. Once infected, people can spread the virus directly to other people, sparking an outbreak. Domestic pigs are also hosts that can infect people. There is no vaccine and the virus has a high mortality rate.

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