Nipah virus claims another life in Kerala, 9 others under observation

Nipah virus claims another life in Kerala, 9 others under observation

Nipah virus claims another life in Kerala, 9 others under observation

Presiding over a meeting, chief secretary DB Gupta said that Nipah virus has marked its impact in the northern districts of Kerala including Mallapuram and Kozhikode and hence people should avoid travelling in these places.

Samples from dead bats in Sirmaur were collected and sent to the National Institute of Virology for testing and all the samples were reported negative for the Nipah virus, according to an official statement quoting Additional Chief Secretary BK Agarwal. "We have been asked by the Centre not to put any restriction on people visiting Kerela", said Umesh Phangcho, state nodal officer, vector-borne disease control programme, Assam. Along with that ensuring that bats do not come in contact with any food or drinks, or with pigs and other domestic animals, helps prevent any viral transmission.

According to an IANS report, officials said that 21 samples from bats and pigs were sent to the High Security Animal Diseases laboratory at Bhopal but all turned out to be negative.

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

Nipah virus is a zoonotic virus, which means it is transmitted from animals to humans.

Of the 15 confirmed cases, 12 people have died so far. The WHO has identified at-risk regions and countries as those that are home to the Pteropodidae family of fruit bat, including Cambodia, Thailand, Indonesia, Madagascar, Ghana and the Philippines. "But it has not been tested on humans", said ICMR Director General, Dr Balram Bhargava, while clarifying that it will not lead to creation of vaccine.

The samples sent to Bhopal included those taken from bats found in the house of victim Moosa whose three relatives have also died due to Nipah.

There is no vaccine for Nipah, and no treatment beyond supportive care to make patients comfortable.

The latest death involves one more family member in the original illness cluster, lifting the number of deaths in the outbreak to 12, The Hindu, an English-language newspaper based in India, reported today.

About 100 families where someone has had contact with infected people are being carefully monitored. It states that "eating or drinking fruit or fruit products (such as raw date palm juice) contaminated with urine/saliva from infected fruit bats is a likely source of infection".

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