Brain-Damaging Nipah Virus Creates Havoc In India As Death Toll Rises

Brain-Damaging Nipah Virus Creates Havoc In India As Death Toll Rises

The outbreak of deadly Nipah Virus (NiV) in Kerala, which claimed over 10 lives, has triggered a panic situation in the neighbouring states.

Nipah Virus Spreads in India - but what are its causes, symptoms and treatment? "It made an effort to create awareness and allay any fears in the minds of the people about the disease", the health ministry said in a statement. "It (outbreak of Nipah virus) is a localised occurrence and there is no need to panic", the minister said.

The Bihar government issued Nipah virus alert on Saturday, asking people to take precautions, an official said. The government has directed border districts to submit a daily outbreak report.

The villagers also fear a repeat of the five dengue fever deaths that were reported in the area previous year.

Officers of the Health Department, Animal Husbandry Department and Forest Department arrived at the Burma Papadi School, following a directive from the Deputy Commissioner, and took samples from the dead bats for further investigation.

- Nipah can be passed by fruit bats, pigs and through human-to-human contact.

There has not yet been an official statement from Public Health England about travel to Kerala, but the risks to travellers are likely to be extremely low. So the virus can move from bats to other hosts through fruit or tree sap contaminated with bat saliva or excreta.

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The 26-year-old Lini Puthussery, a nurse who died while treating persons infected by Nipah virus, worked at the Perambra health centre. The symptoms of the disease include fever, headache, drowsiness, respiratory illness, disorientation and mental confusion.

The virus was first identified in Malaysia and Singapore in 1998.

Most of the deaths reported are from Kozhikode and Malappuram districts from where 11 deaths have now been reported and 18 are undergoing treatment in various hospitals, including one in Wayanad.

Medics wearing protective gear examine a patient at a hospital in Kozhikode in the southern state of Kerala, India May 21, 2018.

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

Eating fruits that have been partially eaten by infected bats or the cooked meat of infected animals can also lead to people developing the virus.

Now there is no vaccine for either humans or animals.

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