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11 Die Of Suspected Nipah Virus In Kerala Spread By Fruit Bats

DIVYIA ASTHANA | 0
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| May 21 , 2018 , 10:27 IST

The relatively unknown Nipah virus, which was first detected in Malaysia in 1998 according to the World Health Organisation, is suspected of having killed a total of 11 people Kerala's districts of Kozhikode and Malappuram as of Monday.

As per Doctors, the Nipah virus is spread by fruit bats and can be contracted by humans consuming fruits or vegetables half-eaten by the fruit bats.

The infection initially began from 3 members of a family near Perambra in Kozhikode district of Kerala, where it was confirmed to be the Nipah virus infection, and soon after 8 others died of similar symptoms in Kozhikode and Malappuram.

“We got the report from the National Institute of Virology, Pune, on Sunday night, confirming Nipah virus infection in the blood samples of the three persons who had died initially. Now, four more persons who were allegedly in contact with the deceased have died at the Medical College,” Kozhikode district medical officer Jayasree V said to Indian Express.

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“Through secretions, the virus could spread from one person to another. It is a serious situation but there’s no need to panic. All those persons who were reportedly in contact with the infected are being closely monitored. We have asked the medical personnel to use all safety gear such as gloves and masks while dealing with potentially infected persons," she said.

"The collector has already ordered the area around the home of the family with the initial deaths to be cordoned off,” Jayshree added.

The Nipah virus is named after the Sungai Nipah village in Malaysia where the outbreak was first spotted when farmers working with pigs got infected. Since the virus is not believed to be airborne, it's transmitted by physical contact.

Neighbours speaking to medical officials reportedly said that the first 3 victims of Nipah virus in Kerala, brothers Swalih and Sabith and their paternal aunt Mariyam, consumed fruits they had picked up from a compound where they were building a house.

Symptoms of the Nipah virus are similar to those of viral fever, including headache, fever, vomiting and dizziness as well as possible disorientation, mental confusion, coma and possibly death. In the Malaysia outbreak, up to 50 percent of the confirmed human cases resulted in death.

There is no specific treatment for Nipah virus with only intensive supportive care available.