Sunday, 16 December, 2018

Nipah virus: The 101 on the infection claiming lives in South India

Nipah virus: The 101 on the infection claiming lives in South India Nipah virus: The 101 on the infection claiming lives in South India
Becky Salazar | 26 May, 2018, 08:35

Amidst the news of the Nipah virus outbreak in Kerala, more than 18 dead bats were discovered on Wednesday in the premises of a government school in Himachal Pradesh's Nahan, triggering a panic among locals.

The Nipah Virus has caused panic in Kerala, claiming at least ten victims.

According to World Health Organization, human infections range from asymptomatic infection, acute respiratory infection (mild, severe), and fatal encephalitis.

Animal Husbandry department and Forest officials deposit a bat into a container after catching it inside a well at Changaroth in Kozhikode in the Indian state of Kerala on May 21, 2018.

"They are all contacts of the confirmed cases and their lab results are awaited".

The Health Department said on Thursday that a total of 160 samples were sent for testing to Pune. The natural host of the virus is fruit bats of the Pteropodidae family, Pteropus genus. In the year 2004, the same virus arrived in Bangladesh through infected fruit bats.

The public health team constituted by Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW) has given guidelines to the hospitals for proper risk assessment and management of the Nipah Virus infection. "We hope the travel ban will be lifted once the Nipah virus is contained, and eliminated", he said. Noted author and rationalist MN Karassery also joined in, tweeting to the Kerala Chief Minister, to institute an award for the most service-minded female nurse, in honour of Lini.

He declined to comment on the Mangalore cases, but identified the districts of Kannur, Kozhikode, Malappuram and Wayanad for tourists in Kerala to avoid, as being close to the outbreak and under scrutiny by health officials. It said that a detailed advisory, with preventive measures and common signs, would be issued soon.

"In recent years, humans are animals are coming in contact with each other which is also causing outbreak of diseases such as Nipah", he added.

Ms Puthussery's body was not handed over to her family and was cremated under official supervision to prevent the infection from spreading further. Treatment is focused on managing fever and the neurological symptoms.

Human-to-human transmission of the virus has been recorded in previous outbreaks in India that killed as many as 50 people.

There is now no vaccine or treatment to tackle Nipah, which has a mortality rate of around 70 percent.

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