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Rajasthan health dept issues guidelines regarding Nipah Virus

District health officials have been asked to keep rapid response team ready.

jaipur Updated: May 24, 2018 21:57 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Jaipur
Fruit bat,Nipah,Rajasthan
Doctors and patients wear safety masks as a precautionary measure after the 'Nipah' virus outbreak in Kozhikode.(PTI)

The Rajasthan health department issued guidelines regarding Human Nipah Virus (NiV) to all chief medical and health officers across the state.

The deadly infection has claimed 12 lives in Kerala so far. Two suspected cases have also been found in adjoining Karnataka.

Nipah virus (NiV) infection is a newly emerging zoonosis that causes severe disease in both animals and humans. The natural host of the virus is fruit bats of the Pteropodidae Family, Pteropus genus.

Director public health Dr VK Mathur in the letter on Wednesday asked all officials to be alert and enhance surveillance for acute encephalitis through integrated disease surveillance programme (IDSP) and to carefully review any unusual pattern.

Clinics have been advised to consider the possibility of NiV infection in patients with symptoms such as fever, altered mental status, severe weakness, headache, respiratory distress, cough, vomiting, muscle pain, convulsion and diarrhoea. NiV causes inflammation of the brain (encephalitis) or respiratory diseases requiring hospitalisation.

Doctors should try to find out whether the patient with such symptoms has travelled to the affected areas in last 21 days. He said these patients should be urgently investigated to rule out the prevalent causes of acute encephalitis before testing for NiV.

Chief medical health officers (CMHOs) have been asked to prepare a plan and identify hospital/ward for early detection and isolation of NiV suspects. Hospital infection prevention and control practices should be strengthened.

Also, district health officials have been asked to keep rapid response team ready.

Dr Mathur clarified that facilities to test the samples are available only at the National Institute of Virology in Pune.

NiV infection was first recognised in a large outbreak of 276 reported cases in Malaysia and Singapore from September 1998 to May 1999. In India, during 2001 to 2007, two outbreaks in humans were reported from West Bengal and Bangladesh. Nipah cases tend to occur in a cluster or as an outbreak.

Though fruit bats are the natural reservoir of NiV, pigs may become infected after consumption of partially bat eaten fruits that dropped in pigsty. Seasonality was strongly implicated in NiV outbreaks in Bangladesh and India. All of the outbreaks occurred during the months of winter to spring (December-May).

Doctors have been advised to take precautions by wearing N95 mask, double surgical gloves, gowns, goggles etc. Wash hands with soap and water for at least for 30 seconds and then clean hand with hand sanitiser before and after collection of samples. The samples that are to be taken include throat swab, urine, blood etc.

First Published: May 24, 2018 21:57 IST