People have been urged not to consume raw date juice in Bangladesh amid concerns the popular drink is spreading Nipah virus, a deadly disease that has killed more than 70 per cent of people infected in the last 20 years.

Since the pathogen was first detected in Bangladesh in 2001, the country has faced almost yearly flare ups. But with no approved vaccines or treatments

One person has died due to Nipah virus in the country.This was informed at a conference on “Winter Infectious Diseases and Nipah Virus Transmission” organized by Institute of Epidemiology Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) on Wednesday.

The analysis comes after Bangladesh reported its first Nipah fatality of the year last week, when a 35-year-old woman in the western city of Rajshah died.

It is believed she contracted the virus after drinking raw date juice that was contaminated by the urine or saliva of infected fruit bats.

The latest analysis found that at least 139 of the known cases contracted the virus after consuming the raw juice – a popular drink, especially in winter.

It was first identified in Malaysia in 1999, but predominantly spreads in Bangladesh and parts of India.

While there are currently no known vaccines, at least eight groups are working on developing shots to mitigate the virus.