Kerala is in the grip of the deadly Nipah virus, which is getting worse with every passing day, creating a lot of panic since there’s not much known about how to tackle the virus. The crisis has prompted the central government to initiate a joint investigation into the outbreak.
At least 10 people have died in various hospitals in Kerala, following the outbreak of Nipah.
What is Nipah virus?
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “Nipah virus (NiV) infection is a newly emerging zoonosis that causes severe disease in both animals and humans.” The natural host of the virus are fruit bats.
Is there a cure for the virus?
No. The only available treatment for humans is intensive support care. That’s why the focus is more on prevention from coming in contact with the animals and humans already affected by the virus.
How does it spread?
Nipah infection is transmitted to humans from animals and sometimes from infected humans to another human beings. According to officials in Kerala, medics found mangoes bitten by bats in a residence where three people died of the suspected infection, BBC reported.
What are the symptoms of Nipah virus?
Symptoms include: Fever, headache, drowsiness, respiratory illness, disorientation & mental confusion. Following these symptoms, a patient can go into a coma within 24-48 hours. The virus has a mortality rate of 70%.
Is this the first time that we are hearing about Nipah?
The first outbreak of Nipah virus was reported in 1999 in Malaysia and Singapore among pig farmers.
According to the BBC report, over 100 deaths were reported in that outbreak. In order to stop the spread of the disease, more than a million pigs were euthanized in Malaysia.
So, is this Nipah’s first outbreak in India?
Nipah is not new to India. The first outbreak of Nipah virus in 2001 left 45 people dead in West Bengal’s Siliguri. Six years later, 5 people died in another outbreak in the state’s Nadia region.