Maharashtra to train its health centre doctors, staff to identify Nipah virus
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Maharashtra to train its health centre doctors, staff to identify Nipah virus

Public health department and National Institute of Virology officials to meet in Pune on Saturday to review surveillance strategies.

mumbai Updated: Jun 02, 2018 13:58 IST
Aayushi Pratap
Aayushi Pratap
Hindustan Times
Forest officials collect bats from a well after the outbreak of Nipah virus in Kerala. (PTI )

In the wake of 17 confirmed deaths caused by Nipah virus in Kerala, Maharashtra public health department will meet officials from National Institute of Virology, Pune, today to review surveillance strategies to detect Nipah virus cases in the state. The meeting will be held in Pune.

Dr Pradeep Awate, state surveillance officer, said public health officials at primary health centres are being trained to identify symptoms and transmission of the virus.

“We are teaching them about the virus, how it transmits and how to identify its symptoms,” Awate said.

As per World Health Organisation (WHO), Nipah virus infection is an emerging zoonosis — a disease that can be transmitted to humans from animals. Its natural host are fruit bats.

“We are strengthening the surveillance to detect [Nipah] cases,” said Dr Sanjeev Kamble, director, Directorate of Health Services.

Fatality rate for Nipah virus has been estimated between 40% and 75%, but can vary depending on local capabilities for epidemiological surveillance and clinical management, said WHO.

However, the agency has advised against any travel or trade restrictions in India based on the information currently available. At present, no specific treatment is available to counter the virus. Infection can be prevented by avoiding exposure to sick pigs and bats in endemic areas, non-consumption of fruits partially eaten by infected bats or drinking raw date palm sap, toddy, juice, WHO added.

First Published: Jun 02, 2018 13:53 IST