Understanding Nipah virus & public health outcome

Nipah suspected cases in Karnataka as Bahrain urges nationals avoid travel to Kerala where 11 dead

Understanding Nipah virus & public health outcome

The dreaded Nipah virus has literally wiped out a family from Perambra in Kozhikode district of Kerala by claiming the life of the fourth member on Thursday. Since it was first described, there had been small outbreaks in Asia and Bangladesh every year, but experts believe it can still spread in other regions especially since its bat hosts can live as far as West Africa and Australia.

Nipah Virus is an emerging zoonosis that causes a perilous condition in both animals and humans.

Nipah Virus infection ( NiV) has surfaced in the southern belt of India and is doing the talks deeply.

The Nipah virus outbreak in Kerala is affecting the state's tourism industry, with numerous tourism destinations witnessing cancellations. A report submitted by a central medical team to the Union Health Ministry also ruled out pigs to be the primary source of the virus.

Nipah is a highly infectious virus carried by fruit bats that causes inflammation of the brain in humans. The mortality rate is noted at 40 per cent, but can spike to 80 per cent in case of improper care and diagnosis.

However, they were asked to take such steps if any of them reported having fever or related illness.

The virus can also affect people's respiratory systems as they may suffer from a cough or have difficulty breathing.

Understanding Nipah virus & public health outcome

Is this the first reported Nipah virus outbreak?

According to Agricultural & Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), in 2016-17, India exported fruits worth of Rs 4,448.08 crore, out of which mangoes, walnuts, grapes, bananas and pomegranates accounted for most of it.

Also, humans become infected with Nipah as a result of consuming food products contaminated by secretions of infected fruit bats.

Since it's an airborne transmission infection, it is spread through direct contact with infected bodies.

The virus, which can be transmitted from animals to humans, is hard to diagnose and the symptoms include fever, vomiting and headaches. The main treatment for those infected is "intensive supportive care", according to the United Nations health body.

The health situation in Kerala has been brought under control by the state government, by not allowing the virus infection from spreading to more locations. Only supportive treatment is given to keep the patient comfortable.

Who are at high risk of getting infected with Nipah virus? .

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It said that Nipah symptoms are not specific and include flu-like illness and hence can be confused with any respiratory illness. Eating food which may have the droplets of saliva and urine of infected bats can lead to the transmission of the virus.

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