Tuesday, 19 June, 2018

Nipah scare pushes several states to issue alerts

Animal Husbandry department and Forest officials inspect a well to catch bats at Kozhikode earlier this month Animal Husbandry department and Forest officials inspect a well to catch bats at Kozhikode earlier this monthMore
Marlene Weaver | 27 May, 2018, 12:16

While putting all hospitals in the state on high alert, the state health department on Friday confirmed that there is no Nipah virus infection in West Bengal.

With funding from CEPI, Profectus BioSciences and Emergent BioSolutions will be working on a vaccine for humans based on virus technology developed over 15 years ago by researchers Christopher Broder and Katharine Bossart at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, writes Quartz.

With test results showing that a particular variety of bats, found in and around Kozhikode and mostly at the worst-affected Perambara town, is not carrying the virus, a special team from Pune will see how best they can take samples from other varieties of bats also found in the district.

Doctors said the National Institute of Virology, Pune, had said that the outbreak of Nipah virus in the Kozhikode was limited to a small geographic area and there was no threat of an epidemic in the State. People in other states do not have much to worry, unless they need to travel to the affected areas, or come in contact with someone who has contracted the virus. "Citizens should follow preventive measures and hygiene", Ms Tiwari said.

A Nipah virus outbreak in Kerala, western India, has sparked global concerns.

Nipah virus is on CEPI's list of three targets, which also includes Lassa fever and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus.

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A Union health ministry advisory has said that the virus, which commonly affects animals such as bats, pigs, dogs, and horses, can spread to humans, causing serious illness.

Speaking to the media after an all-party meeting here, the minister said the situation, in the aftermath of the outbreak of the deadly virus, was under control. Patients will experience mild to severe acute respiratory infection.

There are no vaccines available against Nipah virus (NiV).

The contact-tracing strategy has been successful, the health ministry said, adding that it has been found that all the reported cases - including the suspected cases - had a direct or indirect contact with the first casualty or his family prior to contracting the disease. In the year 2007, most of the people from Bangladesh suffered from this incurable disease by drinking raw date palm sap that the fruit bat had also contaminated.

Recently 21 samples of pigs and bats were forwarded to Animal Disease Laboratory at the capital city of Madhya Pradesh. The first recorded outbreak occurred in a Malaysian village in 1999, causing over 100 deaths.

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