A 23 year old student was admitted in a private hospital in Kerala’s Ernakulam has been tested positive for the deadly Nipah virus. The National Institute of Virology, which tested the man’s blood samples, confirmed the presence of the virus.
The 23-year-old studied in a college in Thodupuzha in Idukki and had stayed in Thrissur recently. The Thrissur district medical officer says, the student was in Thrissur only for four days and had been suffering from fever. Health officials have started inspecting all the areas where the student visited over the last few days.
Nipah is a deadly virus that is naturally harboured by pteropid fruit bats and microbats of several species, livestock and people.
Over 80 people were put under surveillance on Monday, four people which includes two nurses are down with fever. The source of the latest Nipah virus outbreak is not known.
The Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said, “The centre will send monoclonal antibody [medicines] to Kerala. Everything that needs to be done in a scientific manner has been initiated. Nothing to panic.” The medicine is sourced from Australia.
The virus is transmitted from animals to humans and then spreads through people to people contact. It is associated with fatal encephalitis and respiratory illness. In initial stages, it causes fever, headache, muscle pain, dizziness and nausea. There is no known vaccine against the virus.
According to the World Health Organisation, 18 Nipah cases were reported in Kerala last year, out of them 17 died. The first death was reported on the 19th of May 2018. Since then, more than 2,600 contacts were identified and followed up with during the outbreak.
The last known outbreak in the subcontinent before Kerala last year was in 2004 in Bangladesh. The virus was first identified among pigs in Kampung Sungai Nipah in Malaysia in 1998.
Source : Various