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

Nipah virus: Goa government to asks doctors to stay vigilant

Nipah virus: Goa government to asks doctors to stay vigilant

There has not yet been an official statement from Public Health England about travel to Kerala, but the risks to travellers are likely to be extremely low.

While officials of the Health department, Animal Husbandry Department and the Forest Department arrived at Burma Papadi School and have taken samples from the dead bats for investigation, they have assured the people that there is no danger of Nipah virus spreading in the area. However, one more patient from Malappuram was confirmed of being infected with the Nipah virus here on Wednesday.

The Commerce Ministry has said it is monitoring the outbreak and will asses if the virus will bear implications for the country's fruit exports.

The state government has also issued an advisory, asking travellers to avoid visiting the four districts of Kozhikode, Malappuram, Wayanad and Kannur. "In fact, byelections are going on in my district and this virus fear has not had any impact on poll-related activities", he says.

Since these bats feed on any fruit they can find, there's a risk of exports of many fruits getting affected.

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A nurse who treated three of the Kerala victims succumbed to the infection on Monday, Health Minister K.K. Shailaja told a news briefing, where she announced payment of compensation to her family and others who lost family members to the infection.

This apart, in order to control the spread of Nipah Virus, the Government of India is taking several steps while efforts are focused on surveillance and spreading awareness for risk assessment and management of the disease. Two "control rooms" in the worst-hit Kozhikode district have been set up to closely monitor the spread of the virus. "It is hard to know if the symptoms are of Nipah virus or ordinary influenza", says Kurup, adding that unless the situation clears, he will not visit the state. Nipah is a emerging zoonotic diseases that affects humans and animals.

Nipah has killed more than 260 people in Malaysia, Bangladesh and India since 1998 and has a mortality rate of almost 70 percent, according to the World Health Organization. They have denied rumours that the bats may spread the infection.

There is now no vaccine or drug available for humans or animals and the main treatment is intensive support care for those who are suffering from respiratory and neurologic problems. "The natural host of the virus is the fruit bat of the Pteropodidae Family, Pteropus genus". The virus also transmits from humans to humans.

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