What is Nipah virus and how is it transmitted?

Ebony Scott
May 26, 2018

Outbreak of Nipah virus, claimed one more life taking the death toll to 11, as the state's health department on Thursday issued an advisory for people travelling to the state Kerala's Kozhikode.

The Nipah Virus began in the northern district of Kozhikode at the weekend that has now spread to the neighbouring Malappuram district in Kerala.

It is reported that the suspected case has been reported from Karnataka's Mangalore too. The Nipa virus is under control, the minister said at a press meet here today.

The All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Bhubaneswar, has already set up an isolated ward to admit patients afflicted with the virus, AIIMS dean, Bikas Bhatia, said.

The district's Chief Medical Officer, Dr Sanjay Sharma, although the bats are present in the area every year, this year their numbers are significantly higher.

Nipah virus (NiV) infection is a newly emerging zoonosis that causes severe disease in both animals and humans.

Eight of the 11 deaths were reported from Kozhikode and three from Malappuram.

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While the cause of the outbreak is still being investigated, a team of health experts who visited the family's house have linked it to dead bats found in the home's water well.

The Kerala Health minister also said there was no need to be afraid of bats and their habitats should not to destroyed. In Bangladesh in 2004, humans were infected with Nipah virus after consuming date palm sap that had been contaminated by infected fruit bats.

The virus can also affect people's respiratory systems as they may suffer from a cough or have difficulty breathing.

While cremation is favoured as the best method to stop further spread of infection, in case families opt for burial, the body would have to be covered in a polythene bag and then put into a deep pit.

"So far, no vaccine has been made to combat the disease, which spreads mostly through direct contact". As a result of this, the patients with cold and fever are being treated with precaution.

Nipah was first identified in 1998 after pig farmers were infected in the village of Kampung Sungai Nipah, in Malaysia. Treatment for the virus, which has a mortality rate of about 70 percent, is supportive care.

According to the World Health Organization, the fruit bat is the natural host of the virus and often do not display any symptoms.

Other reports by GizPress

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