Monday, 19 November, 2018

Nipah death toll touches 12, samples of fruit eating bats

Image for representation only Image for representation only
Johnnie Parks | 27 May, 2018, 12:17

The health ministry is closely monitoring the outbreak of Nipah virus (NiV) in some parts of Kerala in India, according to a notification it issued yesterday.

With funding from CEPI, Profectus BioSciences and Emergent BioSolutions will be working on a vaccine for humans based on virus technology developed over 15 years ago by researchers Christopher Broder and Katharine Bossart at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, writes Quartz.

The samples from bats found dead in Himachal Pradesh, which were sent to the Pune institute, have been found negative and the two samples of suspected cases from Hyderabad were also negative.

Doctors said the National Institute of Virology, Pune, had said that the outbreak of Nipah virus in the Kozhikode was limited to a small geographic area and there was no threat of an epidemic in the State. "People should avoid going to areas that might have bats".

People have also been told to avoid abandoned wells.

The Kerala high court on Friday sought the views of central and state governments on a petition for blocking videos put up on social media refuting the government's alleged stance that Nipah virus is behind the deaths in Northern Kerala. Testing is planned on bats, suspected as the source of the outbreak, collected from the well in the home of the index illness family.

Relatives and hospital officals wear safety masks as they perform the last rites of V Moosa (61), a "Nipah" virus victim, at Kannam Parambu graveyard, in Kozhikode, on Thursday.

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Although the outbreaks revealed that Nipah can be spread by contact with infected patients, fruit bats are now considered to be one of its most prolific spreaders.

Some can also experience atypical pneumonia and severe respiratory problems, including acute respiratory distress.

She said if people have visited the affected places and if they notice the disease's symptoms in them then they should immediately report to the health centres.

There is no real treatment but supportive care is given to the affected patients, which means treating the symptoms differently.

Nipah virus cases were previously reported from West Bengal's Siliguri in 2001 and Nadia district in 2007.

That said, as minor and local as the outbreak is, authorities are still taking necessary precautions to ensure that it remains as such. The first outbreak of the disease occurred in a Malaysian village in 1998, leading to over 100 deaths, including those of many farmers who had contracted it through their pigs.

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