Wednesday June 26, 2019

Fruit Bats Identified As Source Of Nipah Virus Outbreak In Kerala

At least 13 people died and more than 2,000 were kept under observation when the virus struck in May

0
//
Fruit Bats Identified As Source Of Nipah Virus Outbreak In Kerala
Fruit Bats Identified As Source Of Nipah Virus Outbreak In Kerala. (IANS)

Fruit bats were the source of Nipah virus which created havoc in Kerala’s Kozhikode in May according to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), an official said on Tuesday.

Kerala Health Secretary Rajiv Sadanandan said that tests of the first batch of 21 bats were were negative, but the second set of tests done on 55 fruit bats from Kozhikode confirmed that the nocturnal mammals were behind the spread.

Sadanandan told IANS that Union Health Minister J.P. Nadda on Tuesday confirmed the latest test results.

Also Read: Stem Cell Thearpy To Treat Heart-Failure

At least 13 people died and more than 2,000 were kept under observation when the virus struck in May. Most of them were from Kozhikode district and some from Malappuram.

Even when the final green signal came from Kerala health authorities that the fear of the spread has been contained, the source of the virus outbreak was yet to be ascertained.

The ICMR is the country’s premier body engaged in formulation, coordination and promotion of biomedical research. (IANS)

Next Story

All about Nipah Virus: How is it Different from Swine Flu and Bird Flu?

The human Nipah virus (NiV) infection is a zoonotic disease which was first recognised in a large outbreak

0
drug
The studies have contributed to more accurate figures of drug use globally. Pixabay

With the return of the Nipah infection in Kerala, the need for awareness about zoonotic diseases has increased, especially in view of the spread of misinformation about these diseases.

Doctors say that the symptoms of Nipah infection, swine flu and bird flu are similar, but there are also differences in how the diseases impact people and also in their treatment.

“The basic difference between the Nipah virus and swine flu is that for swine flu drugs and vaccines are available whereas for Nipah there is no treatment or anti viral medication,” Manoj Sharma, Senior Consultant, Internal Medicine, Fortis Escorts Heart Institute in New Delhi told IANS.

According to the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, the human Nipah virus (NiV) infection is a zoonotic disease which was first recognised in a large outbreak of 276 reported cases in Malaysia and Singapore from September 1998 to May 1999.

Nipah Virus, Swine Flu, Bird Flu
With the return of the Nipah infection in Kerala, the need for awareness about zoonotic diseases has increased. Wikimedia Commons

In India, during 2001 and 2007 two outbreaks in humans were reported from West Bengal. But in 2018 and 2019, it has affected mainly Kerala.

“The symptoms of Nipah infection are like flu symptoms — cough, fever, headache, bodyache, cold and then breathlessness later on,” said M S Chaudhary, Senior Consultant, Internal medicine, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, New Delhi.

“Usually it is the bats which spread Nipah virus. Either one eats bat-infected food, or has close contact with an infected person. So the paramedical staff, very close relatives and all are at risk of contracting the virus,” Chaudhary added.

While Nipah is classified as a ‘zoonotic’ disease – those that spread from animals to humans — once a human is infected then it is contagious for other people, said Sharma, adding that Nipah virus can also infect pigs.

Also Read- You are Making a Giant Mistake: Trump Yells at Twitter over Banned Conservative Voices

The Nipah virus affects the respiratory and nervous system and patients may experience respiratory failure or neurological failure. But swine flu usually does not lead to neurological problems, Chaudhary said.

Swine flu was pandemic in 2009 worldwide. Since then there have been sporadic occurrences. So swine flu can spread to any region.

“It can spread from human to human. It is also seen in pigs. It is a variant of pig influenza virus,” Sharma said.

“Symptoms of bird flu are also similar. Bird flu also spreads by infected birds which infect the food and the infection is passed onto humans. There are not too many regions affected by bird flu virus,” Chaudhary said.

Nipah Virus, Swine Flu, Bird Flu
Doctors say that the symptoms of Nipah infection, swine flu and bird flu are similar, but there are also differences in how the diseases impact people and also in their treatment. Pixabay

“The basic thing is to avoid catching the infection. Hand washing and drying of hands is the key to ensure that the infection does not spread,” Sharma added.

In the current Nipah outbreak, a Kerala youth has tested positive for the virus, while three nurses who treated him, a friend and another person have been kept in isolation.

Also Read- Can Modi’s ‘AIM’ Challenge Global Manufacturing Hub China’s Dominance?

A total of 311 people from Thrissur, Paravur in Ernakulam district, and Thodupuzha in Idukki are also under observation, according to Kerala Health Minister K.K. Shailaja. (IANS)