Friday, 21 September, 2018

India's fruit exports face a odd threat - Nipah virus

Nipah Virus That Killed 12 In Kerala May Not Be Linked To Bats 10 Points Nipah virus has claimed 12 lives in Kerala 20 people are being treated for the infection
Johnnie Parks | 26 May, 2018, 03:41

Outbreak of Nipah virus, claimed one more life taking the death toll to 11, as the state's health department on Thursday issued an advisory for people travelling to the state Kerala's Kozhikode.

With 10 deaths due to the deadly Nipah virus being reported so far from northern Kerala, the state government today issued an advisory, asking travellers to avoid visiting the four districts of Kozhikode, Malappuram, Waynad and Kannur.

Experts believe both Nipah and Hendra are spread by flying foxes - bats of the genus Pteropus - with humans becoming infected by exposure to bat urine and saliva on fruit, or from infected pigs and horses.

About 160 samples have been sent for testing at the virology institute and 13 cases have been found to be positive, she said.

Moosa's sons Muhammed Salih and Muhammed Sabith, and his brother Moideen's wife Mariam were the first victims of the Nipah virus outbreak in the state.

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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 virus gets its name from the place where it was first identified.

The main symptom of Nipah virus infection in humans is encephalitis, which means inflammation of the brain. Pigs served as an intermediate host during this outbreak. There is no vaccine for either humans or animals, with primary treatment for human cases being intensive supportive care. Treatment is focused on managing fever and the neurological symptoms. Encephalitis and seizures occur in severe cases, progressing to coma within 24 to 48 hours. However, an incubation period as long as 45 days has been reported. Hospitals are being asked to take extra caution as a large number of people travel from other states to Telangana. The virus also transmits from humans to humans.

The outbreak of Nipah virus, which has resulted in the death of ten people in Kerala, is also likely to have an adverse impact on India's fruit exports.

According to National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme, the drug ribavirin has been shown to be effective against the viruses in viro, but human investigations to date have been inconclusive and clinical usefulness of the drug remains uncertain.

The World Health Organization has named Nipah as one of the eight priority diseases that could cause a global epidemic, alongside the likes of Ebola and Zika.

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