Nipah Virus Back in Kerala

by Hannah Joy on Jun 5 2019 11:10 AM

Nipah Virus Back in Kerala
Nipah virus is back in Kerala. A 23-year-old college student was admitted in a private hospital in Ernakulam, Kerala, India. The National Institute of Virology has tested a Kerala man's blood samples, which confirmed the presence of the virus.//
Nipah virus had killed 17 people in the state last year.

Four more people, including two nurses, are down with fever and two of them had come in contact with the 23-year-old man. 311 people, among them 22 students, are under surveillance.

The center will send monoclonal antibody (medicines) to Kerala that have come from Australia.

Wildlife department has been told to catch bats to test presence of the virus. The medicine, sourced from Australia is available only with the National Institute of Virology. It was used as a preventive medicine for people who were exposed to the Hendra virus in Australia, which mainly infects large fruit bats (flying foxes) and can be passed on to livestock and people.

Nipah virus is transmitted from animals to humans and then spreads through people to people contact. It is associated with fatal encephalitis and respiratory illness. In initial stages, it causes fever, headache, muscle pain, dizziness and nausea.

According to the WHO 18 Nipah cases were reported in Kerala last year; 17 of them died. The first death was reported on May 19, 2018. Since then, more than 2,600 contacts were identified and followed up with during the outbreak.

The last known outbreak in the subcontinent before Kerala last year was in 2004 in Bangladesh. The virus was first identified in 1999 during an outbreak affecting farmers and others in close contact with pigs in Malaysia and Singapore. More than 100 people died in that outbreak that year, and about a million pigs were killed to try to halt its spread.