Nipah Virus Confirmed in Kerala: 10 Points You Need to Know

Here’re the top 10 things you must know about the latest Nipah Virus outbreak in Kerala.

Published04 Jun 2019, 07:41 AM IST
3 min read

A 23-year-old college student in Kerala has been confirmed to be infected with the Nipah virus while 86 others are under medical observation, Kerala Health Minister K K Shailaja said on 4 June.

The results of blood samples of the student, which were tested at the National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune, have confirmed Nipah, she said. The result came this morning.

Earlier, blood samples examined at two virology institutes, Manipal Institute of Virology and Kerala Institute of Virology and Infectious Diseases, had indicated Nipah.

Shailaja said the condition of the student, who is being treated at a private hospital here, is stable and he was not put under any support system like ventilator. She has requested people not to panic and stay alert.

Here’re the top 10 things you must know about this developing story.

  1. Out of 86 patients suspected of Nipah Virus, 2 were admitted. The two nurses who treated the patient initially have reported sore throat and fever. The sample of second patient is being sent to NIV Alappuzha, Manipal Laboratory & NIV Pune.
  2. Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan is reviewing the public health measures for Nipah Virus. He said that he is in constant touch with Kerala Health Minister K.K. Shailaja and that the centre will send monoclonal antibody (medicines) to Kerala. He said they are also in touch with wildlife department to “seek their help for subjecting the bats for testing of the virus.”
  3. The source of the current outbreak is unknown, said Kerala Health Minister K.K. Shailaja. She added that good care is being given to the patient and that they expect a good result. “We have confidence that we can face it. We have faced it in Kozhikode last year and contained it,” she said trying to instill confidence among people.
  4. The National Institute of Virology is in possession of a preventive medicine, which was sourced from Australia post the Nipah outbreak of 2018. Reports say that the medicine was used as a preventive measure against those who were exposed to the Hendra virus in Australia. The Hendra virus is known to infect large fruit bats, who transmit the virus to humans and livestock.
  5. Nipah virus or NiV infection is a newly emerging infectious disease that causes severe illness in both animals and humans. The natural host of the Nipah virus are fruit bats of the Pteropodidae Family, Pteropus genus.
  6. Earlier, the Kerala Health Minister had said that isolation wards had been set up at the Kalamassery Medical College Hospital in Kochi. A team of medical experts, who have experience in dealing with the situation, had also been rushed to Ernakulam from Kozhikode.
  7. Appealing to social media users not to spread panic among the public, K.K. Shailaja said stringent action would be taken against those indulging in such acts.
  8. Symptoms of Nipah Virus can range from asymptomatic infection, acute respiratory infection (mild, severe), and fatal encephalitis. Infected people initially develop influenza-like symptoms of fever, headache, myalgia, vomiting and sore throat. This can be followed by dizziness, drowsiness, altered consciousness, and neurological signs that indicate acute encephalitis.
  9. Some people can also experience atypical pneumonia and severe respiratory problems, including acute respiratory distress. Encephalitis and seizures occur in severe cases, progressing to coma within 24 to 48 hours.
  10. On May 19, 2018, Nipah virus disease outbreak was reported from Kozhikode in Malappuram district As per state government figures, the Nipah virus had claimed 17 lives - 14 in Kozhikode and three in neighbouring Malappuram in May 2018.

(With inputs from PTI)

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