Published: Sat, May 26, 2018
Medicine | By Earnest Bishop

Nipah Virus: CM chairs high-level meet to review preventive measures

Nipah Virus: CM chairs high-level meet to review preventive measures

What makes this deadly is that with each outbreak, changes have been noted in the mutation of the virus-meaning that it needs to be studied separately each time.

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

Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare J.P. Nadda is closely monitoring the situation arising out of reported cases and deaths due to Nipah virus in Kerala.

"Take care of our children", wrote Puthusheri, who was infected with Nipah virus while caring for sick patients. Infected people initially develop influenza-like symptoms of fever, headaches, myalgia (muscle pain), vomiting and sore throat. In 2004, humans who consumed the date palm sap infected by fruit bats, caught the virus as well.

"This is a new situation for us; we have no prior experience in dealing with the Nipah virus", said K.K. Shailaja, health minister of the state, according to Reuters. Some 50 people died in the first two outbreaks.

One of the 10 victims was a nurse who died on Monday after treating a Nipah patient in hospital.

The Nipah Virus began in the northern district of Kozhikode at the weekend that has now spread to the neighbouring Malappuram district in Kerala. Lini's husband, Sajeesh, who works in Bahrain, rushed to Perambra on hearing about her condition, but by then it was nearly too late.

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Health Minister KK Shailaja told a news briefing at least 17 patients were now confirmed as having Nipah - which was first discovered in 1998. I don't think I will see you again. The local administration, with the help of central health ministry team, has set up a task force with a designated control room, while a nodal officer has been appointed to collect data and monitor the activities to ensure preventive measures.

"But human-to-human spread can also occur if there is close contact with an infected person through hospital staff or family members".

Blood and body fluid samples from suspected cases in Kerala have been send to the National Institute of Virology in the western city of Pune for study, officials said.

Nipah tops a list of 10 priority diseases that the World Health Organisation has identified as the next potential major outbreak.

A state government statement said "travelling to any part of Kerala is safe".

Health experts say there is no vaccine yet for the virus, which causes fever and breathlessness in affected patients as initial symptoms, and only intensive care can help.

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