India: Containment due to Nipah virus – two deaths in Kerala – Health

The Nipah virus has broken out for the third time in India. After the deaths of two people in the south of the country, public life in parts of the southwestern state of Kerala is largely paralyzed. A ban on gatherings was imposed there and offices and schools were closed. Authorities confirmed that at least four other people were infected with the pathogen. According to reports from Times of India At least five people have tested positive.

More than 700 people, including 150 health workers, were isolated and tested on Thursday after coming into contact with infected people. Results are still pending. Kerala Health Minister Veena George said she wanted to actively search for cases, according to local television channel NDTV. As during the Nipah epidemic in Kerala in 2018, which left 21 dead, the Kozhikode district is once again particularly affected. The neighboring states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu now require testing for travelers from these countries.

Nipah is a virus transmitted to humans by flying foxes, bats and pigs. The virus can also be transmitted through contaminated food or direct person-to-person contact. The virus has already been detected in Singapore, Malaysia and Bangladesh.

Symptoms are initially similar to the flu: fever, headache, cough and runny nose. In humans, an infection causes dangerous inflammation of the brain. The mortality rate is between 40 and 75 percent. However, an infection can also remain completely asymptomatic. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there is no vaccine.

Politician and health expert KK Shailaja said the new outbreak was not as worrying as the previous one. “In 2018, it was a new virus for us and we had no experience in fighting such an infection. Now we have everything we need to contain it effectively,” Shailaja pointed out. She was then the Health Minister of Kerala.

Rosemary Rowse

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