Medicine

Nipah claims two more lives in Kerala, toll touches 16

Nipah claims two more lives in Kerala, toll touches 16

However, the disease itself was contained quickly before it could become an outbreak.

On May 25, there was news that added further confidence on the situation. Stanford epidemiologist and Nipah expert Stephen Luby has co-authored recent work linking changes in temperature with the virus's spread from bats to humans and examining the impact of behavioral changes that reduce the likelihood of people consuming potentially virus-contaminated tree sap.

Nipah virus is a new emerging zoonosis that causes severe disease in both animals and humans, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

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Meanwhile, two more patients with symptoms of Nipah virus has been admitted at Infectious Diseases Hospital in Beliaghata in north Kolkata. There are no specific drugs or vaccines for NiV infection. The primary treatment for human cases is intensive supportive care till the symptoms subside. Ebola also made headlines in late 2014, when people infected with Ebola traveled from West Africa, site of the most deadly Ebola outbreak in history, to the United States and countries in Europe. Bat specialists were fairly sure that the bats hanging on the laterite walls of the dug well in the Sadik-Salih household were not the culprits. He was admitted to hospital on April 20.

The natural host of the virus is believed to be fruit bats of the Pteropodidae family, Pteropus genus. A multi-disciplinary team led by the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Government of India, is in Kerala to respond to the outbreak.

Nipah has killed more than 260 people in Malaysia, Bangladesh and India since it first appeared in Malaysia in 1998. "All districts are instructed to enhance their surveillance for acute encephalitis through Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP) and to carefully review any unusual pattern", says the guidelines issued on May 23. Doctors have therefore also recommended people to avoid eating fallen fruit or fruits with any signs of bites.


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