Puducherry Collector issues precautionary steps for Nipah Virus

Georgia Reed
May 28, 2018

The global threat that Nipah poses has determined the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) - an worldwide alliance of governmental and non-profit organizations - to act against the deadly virus.

But blood and serum samples of bats collected from the affected areas turned negative and health experts are trying hard to pinpoint the main carriers of the virus.

Rajesh Pillai, a Kochi-based tour operator, said cancellations have been a daily affair since the rare virus claimed 12 lives in the two districts of Kozhikode and Malappuram.

The health department on Friday confirmed that the two patients who were admitted to Fever Hospital and Nizam's Institute of Medical Sciences (NIMS) have tested negative for Nipah Virus (NiV) infection.

To prevent the spread of the virus, alerts were sounded in Bihar, Sikkim, Karnataka, Goa and Maharashtra.

Along with Zika virus and Ebola virus, Nipah virus is also included on the priority list of emerging diseases in the world which can even cause the global pandemic, according to WorldHealth Organisation. What exactly is Nipah virus and where does it come from?

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The virus can cause a range of mild to severe disease in domestic animals such as pigs while in humans, the infection causes a range of clinical presentations, from asymptomatic infection to acute respiratory infection and fatal encephalitis. "The team made a decision to send the cerebral spinal fluid, secretion from throat, blood and urine samples to the Manipal Centre for Virus Research on May 18".

Kerala Health minister K K Shailaja said that at least 175 people are being monitored by the authorities. Now 26 people are under observation, they said.

The Nipah virus is a zoonotic disease that is naturally transmitted from vertebrate animals to humans, while human-to-human transmission has also been documented. "People have been advised to keep a distance from bats and pigs".

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.

The virus, spread through contact with bodily fluids, has a mortality rate of about 70 percent. "We are specifically advising people not to go to the Kerala considering that the situation is bad there", Hyderabad district medical and health officer Dr Padmaja told Mirror.

During previous outbreaks in India, first in 2001 and then in 2007, more than 50 people have died.

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