World Health Organization warns against outbreak of Nipah virus

World Health Organization warns against outbreak of Nipah virus

World Health Organization warns against outbreak of Nipah virus

Outbreaks of Nipah occur annually in Bangladesh and 105 people died from the virus in Malaysia 1999, when more than a million pigs were slaughtered to stem its spread.

"However if travellers wish to be extra conscious, they may avoid Kozhikode, Malappuram, Wayanad, and Kannur districts".

The number of people confirmed dead due to the Nipah virus infectionin Kerala rose to 11 on Thursday morning, PTI reported.

This comes even as the authorities said that the situation was under control. Two other outbreaks of the virus were reported in India in 2001 and 2007, respectively, in the eastern state of West Bengal that shares its border with Bangladesh, claiming the lives of over 50 people.

Also, chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the state government is strictly monitoring the spate and taking steps to put off its further spread.

Thirteen out of about 160 samples sent to a virology institute have tested positive for the virus, Kozhikode medical officer Dr Jayasree E said.

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Nipah virus (NiV) infection is a newly emerging zoonosis that causes severe disease in both animals and humans.

Eight of the dead are from Kerala's Kozhikode district, the hub of the outbreak, where multiple members of one family were the first to be infected.

The Kerala Health minister also said there was no need to be afraid of bats and their habitats should not to destroyed.

A global coalition set up a year ago to fight epidemics has struck a $25 million deal with two US biotech companies to accelerate work on a vaccine against the brain-damaging Nipah virus that has killed 12 people in India. Treatment is focused on managing fever and the neurological symptoms.

The health department also advised people to avoid consuming fruits that are half-eaten by bats or birds. That time, the first infected were pigs that got the virus from fruit bats before transmitting it to pig farmers. There is no vaccine for either humans or animals, with primary treatment for human cases being intensive supportive care. Human-to-human transmission has also been documented, including in a hospital setting in India, the World Health Organization says. The awareness is being done to prevent the disease from spreading further, especially to those at high risk.

There is now no vaccine or treatment to tackle Nipah, which has a mortality rate of around 70 percent.

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