Deadly Nipah virus has not spread in south India


The UAE has asked its citizens to put off unnecessary travel to Kerala where a Nipah virus outbreak has claimed 11 lives while at least 40 others are in quarantine, the health ministry said in a statement. According to the medical reports, this virus also damages lungs and kidneys of humans.

With test results showing that a particular variety of bats, found in and around Kozhikode and mostly at the worst-affected Perambara town, is not carrying the virus, a special team from Pune will see how best they can take samples from other varieties of bats also found in the district.

Now areas around Kozhikode and Mallapuram district in Kerala is undergoing Nipah virus outbreak.

The health department will ensure that companies do not send their employees to affected areas in Kerala, said Ms Rajeshwari Tiwari, state officer of the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

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The outbreak of the virus infection, which is a newly emerging zoonosis that causes severe disease in both animals and humans, is suspected to be from an unused well which was infested with bats.

Early symptoms resemble those of influenza - fever, muscle ache, headache, drowsiness, respiratory illness, disorientation and mental confusion.

Its natural host are fruit bats of the Pteropodidae family, and it was first identified just 20 years ago in 1998 when an outbreak occurred in Kampung Sungai Nipah in Malaysia.

Yet another death has been reported due to Nipah viral infection in Kozhikode.

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A Union health ministry advisory has said that the virus, which commonly affects animals such as bats, pigs, dogs, and horses, can spread to humans, causing serious illness.

Of the 15 confirmed cases, 12 people have died so far.

Himachal Pradesh Additional Chief Secretary B.K. Agarwal has advised people not to panic about the Nipah virus and said that all medical colleges in the state are prepared to deal with the situation, if it occurs.

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Thursday issued an advisory for the general public and healthcare personnel on how to take preventive measures in high-risk areas and how the Nipah virus spreads and what are its symptoms.

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Nipah virus cases were previously reported from West Bengal's Siliguri in 2001 and Nadia district in 2007. "They should also avoid close contacts with people around unless it is ruled out that they are not infected with the virus". "The disease is treated with supportive and symptomatic care which is the mainstay of the treatment", maintains the advisory.