After Kerala and Hyderabad, Nipah Virus Alert in Bihar

Lynette PayneMay 27, 2018

It said that human-to-human infection can occur from close contact with persons affected with Nipah at home while providing care or close contact and in the hospital setting if the appropriate personal protective equipment is not used. According to the medical reports, this virus also damages lungs and kidneys of humans.

In 2015, the World Health Organization added the virus to its list of diseases that require urgent research attention.

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

The Health Department officials are conducting a campaign to caution people against visiting Kerala, at least till the dreaded Nipah virus comes under control.

Since then, outbreaks have occurred nearly every year in Bangladesh, and twice before in the Indian state of West Bengal. Nipah was reported in India in 2001, too (in Siliguri, West Bengal). At present there is no one-drug cure for the disease.

Richard Hatchett, MD, chief executive officer of CEPI, said, the group's first funding agreement to develop a vaccine against Nipah virus marks a vital step forward in the global battle against the disease. In some cases, the disease doesn't present any outward symptom apart from the infection.

According to the advisory issued by the director of Health Services the symptoms involves initial presentation is non-specific, characterised by the sudden onset of fever, headache, muscle pain, nausea and vomiting. In severe cases, there are seizures which might lead to coma within 24 to 48 hours. The virus had previously been placed on the watchlist of risky, potentially epidemic pathogens by the World Health Organization (WHO), and the death toll continues to rise: now, it seems to be over 12, but it's hard to find sources that agree on the exact number as the outbreak is still ongoing. So far Nipah infections have been reported from Australia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Madagascar, PNG, Taiwan and Thailand. The natural host of the virus is fruit bats. This puts at risk large portions of human population in areas from coastal Africa and Madagascar to Indian coast, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, even part of northern coastal Australia, where these bats are largely found. It was then because people came in direct contact with the infected people-especially in hospital-without taking proper precautions.

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

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