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Preliminary findings based on the serological tests of a continuing outbreak investigation of a severe encephalitic illness in Meherpur, Bangladesh, in April-May 2001 suggest that the etiological agent may be Nipah or a closely related virus (1). A press report in early May 2001 described an outbreak of suspected Japanese encephalitis (JE) in a remote village in Meherpur (2). There were 28 adult cases, mostly in men, of an acute neurological syndrome (progressive fever, malaise, headache, and coma). Nine of them died. Viral encephalitis was diagnosed clinically, but lumbar puncture and other investigations were not performed (3). Cases of a similar disease had occurred in Siliguri, India (not far from Bangladesh), earlier in 2001. Epidemiological information is not yet available.


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