Nipah virus alert in Bihar

Faith Castro
May 27, 2018

The government was also taking steps to make Ribavarin tablets, which had been found to be somewhat effective in fighting Nipah virus, in sufficient quantities to check the fever outbreak. "Health officials in every district are prepared to face any emergency situation", she added.

KOCHI/MUMBAI, May 23 (Reuters) - Indian health officials were checking on Wednesday if a rare, brain-damaging virus had spread to a second state after two suspected cases reported in southern Karnataka, as the death toll in adjacent Kerala, where the outbreak began, rose to 11.

The dreaded Nipah virus has literally wiped out a family from Perambra in Kozhikode district of Kerala by claiming the life of the fourth member on Thursday. Authorities have sealed the well and sent the bat blood samples for medical tests. So far, it is believed that the two known strains of Nipah virus are both not easily transmitted. They are meeting those under observation, besides running awareness programmes, an official said.

What is the Nipah virus?

News is being spread on social media like wildfire about the cure of the deadly virus but no expert has commented on its authenticity. The Virus Research Diagnostic Laboratory at Manipal Hospital and the National Institute of Virology have been asked to meet the diagnostic challenges.

On Tuesday, Kerala Health Minister KK Shylaja said no new cases had been detected in 24 hours.

Its natural host are fruit bats of the Pteropodidae family, and it was first identified just 20 years ago in 1998 when an outbreak occurred in Kampung Sungai Nipah in Malaysia.

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What precautions can be taken to combat the Nipah virus?

Treatment for the virus, which has a mortality rate of about 70 percent, is supportive care.

Although the Nipah virus outbreak has not taken place in Karnataka, yet, there were apprehensions, compelling the medical department to scrutinize and double check the symptoms.

This can be followed by dizziness, drowsiness, altered consciousness, and neurological signs that indicate acute encephalitis. However, given the vast number of viral infections, it is recommended that you don't panic each time someone coughs or experiences respiratory problems, and instead, get a thorough check-up done.

What are the symptoms of the infection? The incubation period ranges between 4 to 18 days.

The virus spreads through close contact with people's secretions and excretions.

The virus can be transferred through infected bats, pigs or humans who have been infected.

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