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Governments, Hospitals Should Invest In Limiting Nosocomial Transmission During Nipah, Other Disease Outbreaks

Foreign Policy: India Is Panicking About a Virus Passed by Bat Poop
Laurie Garrett, former senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations

“…Nipah is not an airborne supercontagious agent like measles or influenza. … But since fear rarely bothers to rest on a foundation of fact, the Indian outbreak has spawned outsized fears of spread and contagion around the world (if not yet in the West). … The risk of Nipah, or any other dangerous bat-borne virus, cannot be ascribed simply to ‘poor countries’ or ‘bad hospitals.’ … Nipah will return — as will dozens, if not hundreds, of other bat viruses — in unpredictable times and places. Take heed, hospital administrators and those who control government purse strings: Preventing serious outbreaks means putting time and money every day into training and equipment that limit the risk of nosocomial spread. Waiting to take steps in an atmosphere of fear and hysteria — or, worse, feeding those fears — risks needless anxiety and grievous mistakes” (6/8).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.