Published: Thu, May 31, 2018
Medicine | By Earnest Bishop

India steps up hunt for origin of mysterious brain-damaging Nipah virus

India steps up hunt for origin of mysterious brain-damaging Nipah virus

The patient was brought to the GMCH after he was found to have symptoms of the Nipah virus. It said it was banning fresh produce, including mangoes, dates and bananas - the bats' preferred fruits.

All animal samples, together with these from bats, cattle, goats and pigs from the southern state of Kerala, despatched to the Nationwide Institute of Excessive Safety Animal Ailments, in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, had been unfavourable for Nipah, stated animal husbandry officer A. Mohandas.

The department was now collecting samples of fruit bats from Perambra, the suspected epicentre of the infection and nearby areas, Mohandas said.

Of some 116 suspected cases sent for testing in recent weeks, 15 have been confirmed as Nipah, the Kerala government said on its website http://bit.ly/2GUSi3T on Monday.

At least 14 people in India have died after an outbreak of a rare disease only discovered two decades ago.

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According to World Health Organisation, the virus in humans has a range of clinical presentations, from asymptomatic infection to acute respiratory syndrome and fatal encephalitis. The symptoms may last 10-12 days followed by unconsciousness and death as a result of brain fever, the advisory said. Anil Vij said, "Rahul Gandhi is like Nipah Virus, he will destroy everyone, whatever comes in his influence, will be destroyed".

A recent outbreak in South India has renewed interest in Nipah virus, a disease with no vaccine or cure that generally spreads from bats or pigs to humans and kills almost three-quarters of those infected.

The primary treatment for humans is intensive care, but there is no known cure.

The virus has killed about 260 people since it first spread across Bangladesh, Malaysia and India back in 1998.

Mayor Thottathil Raveendran said that the situation after the outbreak of the disease in the city was grave with people becoming reluctant to travel by buses and trains.

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