Nipah virus outbreak contained, no need to panic, says Kerala Health Minister K K Shailaja

Published: 21st May 2018 08:08 PM  |   Last Updated: 23rd May 2018 03:42 PM  

Kerala Health Minister K K Shailaja on Wednesday said that the outbreak of Nipah virus (NiP), which has claimed 10 lives, has been contained and there was no need to panic. Seventeen people are being treated at the Kozhikode Medical College Hospital.People covering their face due to the fear of Nipah virus fear at the Government Medical College Hospital in Kozhikode. (EPS| Manu R Mavelil)
After several deaths were confirmed from a mysterious new 'Nipah virus' in Kerala's Kozhikode, the Centre has sent a team to the southern state. The death toll due to the suspected infection rose to six in the district after a nurse who treated a patient at Perambra Taluk hospital succumbed to the infection at the Medical college hospital here on Monday. The deceased was identified as Lini, a native of Chembanoda in Kozhikode. Nipah virus (NiV) infection in humans has a range of clinical presentations, from asymptomatic infection to acute respiratory syndrome and fatal encephalitis, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). (IN PIC: With Nipah virus cases being reported, more people are spotted wearing masks./ Express Photo by Manu R Mavelil)
Perambra Taluk hospital
In a letter to Union Health Minister JP Nadda, Lok Sabha MP and former Union minister Mullappally Ramachandran said some panchayats, including Kuttiyadi and Perambra, in his Lok Sabha constituency of Vatakara were in the grip of the virus and sought the central government's intervention to contain the outbreak of what he termed was a 'rare and deadly' virus in some parts of Kozhikode. (IN PIC: With Nipah virus cases being reported, more people are spotted wearing masks. /Express Photo by Manu R Mavelil)
Meanwhile, the neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu government has flagged a general alert asking all Deputy directors of public health to keep an extra vigil. J Radhakrishnan, Health secretary, told TNIE that there was no immediate cause for concern. (IN PIC: Health minister KK Shailaja and minister TP Ramakrishnan addressing local people at Changaroth panchayat hall. The meeting was attended by health officials from the Centre./ Express Photo by TP Sooraj)
The natural hosts of the Nipah virus are fruit bats. It has symptoms like breathing trouble, inflammation of the brain, fever, headache, drowsiness, disorientation and delirium. A patient can slip into coma within 48 hours. NiV can also infect pigs and other domestic animals. The natural hosts of the virus are fruit bats of the Pteropodidae Family, Pteropus genus. (IN PIC: Officials of the Animal Husbandry department along with the forest department officials isolating the bat after catching it from a well at Changaroth near Perambra in Kozhikode/ Express Photo by TP Sooraj)
Nipah virus is a member of the family Paramyxoviridae, genus Henipavirus. The virus was initially isolated and identified in 1999 during an outbreak of encephalitis and respiratory illness among pig farmers and people with close contact with pigs in Malaysia and Singapore. In the 1999 outbreak, the virus caused a relatively mild disease in pigs, but nearly 300 human cases with over 100 deaths were reported. In 2001, Nipah was again identified as the causative agent in an outbreak of human disease occurring in Bangladesh. In the same year, another outbreak was identified retrospectively in Siliguri in West Bengal. (IN PIC: Only a few patients are seen at Perambra Taluk Hospital after a nurse, Lini, right, died of Nipah virus. / Express Photo by TP Sooraj)
The disease spreads through the body fluids, so avoid making direct contact with the patient. By-standers should use precautionary measures such as masks. Fever, headache, drowsiness and abnormal behaviour are some of the symptoms. (IN PIC: With Nipah virus cases being reported, more people are spotted wearing masks./ Express Photo by Manu R Mavelil)
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan's office tweeted that a statewide alert has been issued and that the government has opened a 24-hour control room to monitor the situation. (IN PIC: People shopping in Perambra's supermarket, Kozhikode./ Express Photo by TP Sooraj)
Precaution: Avoid the consumption of fruits bitten by bats and other animals. It is advisable not to harvest fruits which might seem fallen naturally from a tree in your premise although it looks untouched by any animals. (IN PIC: Doctors and nurses at Perambra taluk Hospital, Kozhikode/ Express Photo by TP Sooraj)
Precaution: Avoid consumption of toddy collected from areas where fruit bats are found in plenty as the beverage is brewed in open containers. (IN PIC: Perambra Taluk Hospital/ Express Photo by TP Sooraj)
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Keep the wells and other water sources closed and clean. Treated water should be used for body sanitization and cleaning. Consume boiled water. (IN PIC: Perambra Taluk Hospital/ Express Photo by TP Sooraj)
Wear masks and gloves while attending patients and wash hands using anti-bacterial soaps or liquids if you happen to make any physical contact with an infected person. (EPS| Manu R Mavelil)
Moving patients to other locations could result in the spreading of the virus since it is a transmittable disease. Minimum mobility is hence often advised. (EPS| Manu R Mavelil)
Monitor if anybody in your family shows symptoms of flu. Avoid self-treatment and do check with medical professionals. Do not panic as sudden influx of fear could only worsen the situation. (EPS| Manu R Mavelil)
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