Nipah Virus Infections: Don't Blame the Bats Alone, Improve Public Health

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Two more people died in Kerala's Kozhikode district on Wednesday after being infected by the Nipah virus, taking the toll to 16, reports said.

Officials said messages have been sent to government and private hospitals to report back to Swastha Bhavan (state health department office) immediately if they come across any suspected case of Nipah virus infection. He was admitted to hospital on April 20.

Simple good hygiene practices such as frequent hand washing and cooking food properly before consuming can help you avoid contracting the brain-damaging Nipah virus.

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Prasad had been on a month's leave to Kerala before resuming duty on May 13.

Nipah virus is a new emerging zoonosis that causes severe disease in both animals and humans, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The number of confirmed Nipah virus cases has risen to 17 with the National Institute of Virology, Pune, finding its presence in the blood sample of a 28-year-old person from Karassery here, the sources said. "All districts are instructed to enhance their surveillance for acute encephalitis through Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP) and to carefully review any unusual pattern", says the guidelines issued on May 23.

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The first Nipah virus outbreak was reported in a Malaysian village called Kampung Sungai Nipah in 1998. Kerala has been gripped by the deadly virus for the last two weeks which has resulted in 14 deaths in the state.

The UAE's Ministry of Climate Change and Environment also notified other local authorities, including the Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority and the municipalities of its emirates, to prevent the entry of any fresh produce from Kerala, it said in a statement.

Contracting Nipah causes an upper respiratory infection, leading to fever, body ache, breathlessness and cough.

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In addition to the brain swelling that is the disease's most serious symptom, people infected also can experience flu-like symptoms like fever and headaches.

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