Nipah virus: Deadly disease spreading as India widens quarantine area

Modesto Morganelli
Mag 26, 2018

The outbreak of the virus infection, which is a zoonosis that causes severe disease in both animals and humans, is suspected to be from an unused well which was infested with bats and belonged to the Moosa family.

NiV infection in humans has a range of outbreaks, from asymptomatic infection to acute respiratory syndrome and fatal encephalitis.

The Nipah Virus has caused panic in Kerala, claiming at least ten victims. It has urged travelers to be extra cautious while visiting Kozhikode, Malappuram, Wayanad and Kannur districts.

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

Meanwhile, three teams of health experts deputed by the Centre are working in Kozhikode along with various teams of the state government, officials said.

"We have also made a decision to give a government job to the husband of the nurse Lini who died after attending to Nipah virus patients in Perambra in Kozhikode", he said. "Day by day more and more students are vacating as rumours of high casualties spread", said a hostel warden.

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.

A nurse, who has been identified as Lini, died after treating patients at Perambra Taluk Hospital in Kozhikode. The state's health department has issued an advisory for people traveling to the state.

While medical professionals are in a rush to contain the virus, it must be noted that there's no cure as of now and the virus is contagious with 75%-100% fatality rate. The only treatment is supportive care to keep patients comfortable.

Taking cognizance of the issue, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare J.P Nadda also directed to constitute a team of six doctors to probe the outbreak of the virus.

Health Minister KK Shailaja told a news briefing at least 17 patients were now confirmed as having Nipah - which was first discovered in 1998.

There is now no vaccine or treatment to tackle Nipah, which has a mortality rate of around 70 percent. Human-to-human transmission has also been documented, including in a hospital setting in India, the World Health Organization says. "The virus spreads fast and leads to death in 70 per cent cases", said Delhi-based Dr. N.P. Gupta.

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