Tuesday, 19 June, 2018

Nipah outbreak: Kerala government issues advisory against travelling to four Northern districts

Kerala Nipah onslaught continues as quarantine remains a far cry Nipah has claimed 12 lives in the northern districts of Kerala
Marlene Weaver | 26 May, 2018, 20:44

With the death of one more patient who tested positive for Nipah virus (NiP) on Thursday morning, the disease has claimed 12 lives in Kerala, officials said. Although "They are not confirmed Nipah Cases yet, so there is no need to panic", he added via telephone.

India's national Health Minister, J. P. Nadda, wrote on Twitter on Wednesday that he had instructed officials, "to leave no stone unturned in terms of proactively countering the Nipah virus threat".

Nipah has killed more than 260 people in Malaysia, Bangladesh and India since 1998 and has a mortality rate of almost 70 percent, according to the World Health Organization.

Nipah virus may not have spread beyond Kerala but its scare has spread across the country with several states investigating suspicious cases and issuing advisories on precautions and travel to Kerala. "Sorry", Lini Puthusheri wrote her husband in a tangle of English and Malayalam, the main language of the south Indian state of Kerala. The nurse who had treated Ashokan in Thalassery is also under observation due to fever.

Nipah is a rare virus spread through fruit bats, which can cause flu-like symptoms and brain damage.

News is being spread on social media like wildfire about the cure of the deadly virus but no expert has commented on its authenticity.

Today the death toll of the virus - which has no vaccine - rose to 11, with nearly 100 people being treated as potential cases.

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"Travelling to any part of Kerala is safe".

Healthcare facilities have been asked to ensure isolation facilities, ventilator support and infection control practices, and coordinate to enhance surveillance for unusual illness and death of animals.

Nipah virus is a newly emerging disease that can cause serious harm to both humans and animals.

The Commerce Ministry has said it is monitoring the outbreak and will asses if the virus will bear implications for the country's fruit exports. NiV was first identified during an outbreak of disease in Kampung Sungai Nipah, Malaysia, in 1998.

State official Rajeev Sadanandan said the districts of Kannur, Kozhikode, Malappuram and Wayanad should be avoided at all costs.

Dr PL Natraj, the director of the health department, said he had not received any circular from the Centre about actively screening patients.

Human-to-human transmission has also been documented. Treatment for human cases is management treatment along with intensive supportive care.

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