Published: Sat, May 26, 2018
Medical | By Garry George

Nipah virus: Goa government to asks doctors to stay vigilant

Nipah virus: Goa government to asks doctors to stay vigilant

This apart, in order to control the spread of Nipah Virus, the Government of India is taking several steps while efforts are focused on surveillance and spreading awareness for risk assessment and management of the disease.

Nipah virus (NiV) infection is a newly emerging zoonosis that causes severe illness in both animals and humans.

In 2004, residents in Bangladesh also caught the infections after they ate contaminated fruits or consumed products such as raw date palm juice that were contaminated by saliva or urine of infected fruit bats.

It is noted that Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare J.P Nadda taking cognizance of the issue, and also directed to constitute a team of six doctors to investigate the outbreak of the rare and deadly virus.

While 18 people with specific symptoms are admitted at hospitals in Kozhikode, 22 patients with suspected Nipah cases, all from Malappuram district, are admitted at Kozhikode Medical College for observation.

Rajeshwari Devi, a health official in the Karnataka city of Mangalore, told AFP the patients' condition was improving but doctors were awaiting the results of blood tests.

No. Previous outbreaks have been reported in India, Bangladesh, Thailand, Cambodia, the Philippines, Laos and Malaysia. The virus gets its name from the place where it was first identified. Biosecurity level 4 is the classification for Nipah Virus for laboratory personnel to adhere to. "The natural host of the virus is the fruit bat of the Pteropodidae Family, Pteropus genus".

The reason for fear is because of the fact that fruit bats are the major carriers of the virus.

Bats shed the virus in their excrement and secretions, but they are symptomless carriers.

The incubation period (interval from infection to the onset of symptoms) is believed to range between from 4-14 days. How is it treated?

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.

Treatment options are limited mostly to supportive care. The symptoms are nearly identical to influenza, including fever and muscle ache and in some cases patients have brain inflammation as well.

How can it be prevented?

Healthcare providers must engage in using a gown, cap mask and gloves besides hand washing and optimal hygiene.

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