Nipah virus in Kerala: Central team meets boy's family, advises extra vigilance
Nipah virus disease, which claimed the life of a 12-year-old boy in Kerala, is caused by fruit bats and is potentially fatal to humans as well as animals, according to the World Health Organization.
A health team from the Centre visited Kerala's Kozhikode district on Sunday, where a 12-year-old boy died after getting infected by the Nipah virus and collected samples of Rambutan fruits from the area. The sample could help identify the source of the infection and confirm whether the origin of the infection was through a bat, according to a statement by the government.
The team from Delhi's National Centre for Diseases Control also interacted with the family and those close to the boy to identify the food he ate and the animals he may have come in contact with. At least 18 close contacts, mainly relatives and health workers, of the boy and 150 secondary contacts have been identified and quarantined. Two health workers later showed symptoms of Nipah.
It also advised everyone to be extra vigilant and inform health professionals as soon as possible if they have similar symptoms of the disease, which has a case fatality rate of 40 per cent to 80 per cent. Local residents must follow protocol at their homes and surroundings, as the state government imposed restrictions within a three-kilometre radius of the Nipah victim's house and declared it as a containment zone, the central officials said. Similar cautionary steps have been issued in nearby areas of Kozhikode, Malappuram and Kannur districts.
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A Nipah virus outbreak was reported in the Kozhikode and Malappuram districts of Kerala in 2018. Nipah virus disease is caused by fruit bats and is potentially fatal to humans as well as animals, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
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What are the symptoms of Nipah virus disease?
It is known to cause fever, muscular pain, headache, fever, dizziness, and nausea along with respiratory illness. Some are also likely to show symptoms of epilepsy. Once infection aggravates patient may fall unconscious and may develop brains fever, which can lead to death.
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Is there a medicine to treat the Nipah virus disease?
There is no medicine to treat the Nipah virus disease but a cocktail of anti-vitriolic drugs are given to patients.
How does the Nipah virus infect?
Mainly a zoonotic disease, people get infected through birds and animals and fruit bats are the main carrier. Bat-bitten fruits are known to be a major triggering factor of the Nipah virus disease. It can be transmitted from animals to humans through body fluid and in the same way among humans.
How to prevent Nipah virus infection?
People must avoid fruits bitten by birds or animals and keep away from bats and other birds. They should not drink toddy collected from bat-infested areas. They must wear double masks and wash their hands properly. If someone needs to visit a hospital, they must do so only in PPE kits.