Published: Sat, May 26, 2018
Health Care | By Oscar Goodwin

World Health Organization warns against outbreak of Nipah virus

World Health Organization warns against outbreak of Nipah virus

A fourth member of the same Indian family has died from the rare Nipah virus, officials said Thursday, as authorities scramble to contain an outbreak that has claimed 11 lives.

The state government issued an advisory asking travellers to avoid visiting the four districts of Kozhikode, Malappuram, Wayanad and Kannur.

Panaji: The Goa government has said that though there is no case of Nipah virus reported in the state so far, it would ask doctors to stay vigilant.

The situation is "under control", with a Central Expert Team continuously reviewing treatment procedures, infection control practices and the availability of personal protective equipment, Sadanandan said.

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He said as part of the general advisory, "a circular would be issued to all private and government doctors in the state to stay vigilant about symptoms of the virus being seen in any patient".

The district's Chief Medical Officer, Dr Sanjay Sharma, although the bats are present in the area every year, this year their numbers are significantly higher.

Nipah has killed more than 260 people in Malaysia, Bangladesh and India in outbreaks since 1998.

The public health team constituted by Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW) has given guidelines to the hospitals for proper risk assessment and management of the Nipah Virus infection. The Nipah Virus, also known as NiV, is transferred to humans from fruit bats.

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Nipah Virus is a newly emerging zoonosis that causes a severe disease in both animals and humans.

While cremation is favoured as the best method to stop further spread of infection, in case families opt for burial, the body would have to be covered in a polythene bag and then put into a deep pit. Bats act as the host of the virus, which spreads to other animals through their excreta or droppings.

The experimental vaccine being developed by the biotech companies has produced promising results in animal tests, following more than 15 years of research by scientists at the USA -based Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. The virus gets its name from the place where it was first identified. Treatment is focused on managing fever and the neurological symptoms.

Nipah has killed more than 260 people in Malaysia, Bangladesh and India since 1998 and has a mortality rate of almost 70 percent, according to the World Health Organization.

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