Nipah Virus Claims Another Life In Kerala's Kozhikode, Toll Rises to 14


There is no vaccine for the virus.

Nipah virus is closely related to Hendra virus.

Nine more individuals suspected to be infected with Nipah virus are under observation. Wing Commander Birdi however mentioned that till such time the report from the NIV in Pune is received, it cannot be confirmed whether it was a case of nipah virus or not.

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There is no vaccination for the virus, which induces flu-like symptoms that lead to brain damage and a coma and has a 70 percent mortality rate. The virus is known to have originated in humans (via contraction from pigs) in Malaysia and Singapore in 1998 and 1999. The sap is then either consumed fresh as a sweet drink-a delicacy similar to sugar-cane juice-or allowed to ferment. One concern is that any time a virus infects a human, it is in an environment that selects for survival in that context.

Is there anything especially concerning about this outbreak? Doctors suspect the virus had spread from a 26-year-old, triggering an outbreak in Kozhikode. He said that Nipah cases tend to occur in a cluster or as an outbreak.

When the state was trying hard to contain the outbreak, the arrival of south-west monsoon has brought more worries. And with Nipah, we just don't know if that version is already is lurking in nature. The symptoms occur within a few days of getting infected.

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Indian states have been on alert fearing the spread of the disease. For starters, Ebola has been known about since 1976; Nipah virus was first discovered about twenty years later. It has been hard for the Kerala government to deal with NiV. The Indian Institute of Virology in Pune has done research and diagnostics on the virus in the past, and India has good public-health infrastructure.

However, the disease itself was contained quickly before it could become an outbreak.

Officials in particular have warned against consuming the kinds of dates, or their byproducts, that fruit bats feed on.

"Culling of bats has to be totally avoided even if tests show some of the fruit bats in the region are carrying Nipah virus", Nameer emphasized. With this the total number of infected persons mount to 17.

Is there going to be bat backlash in India? Dead bats were found in a well at their home.

The other mode of transmission is human to human, through body secretions and respiratory secretions. Date-palm sap is the flawless example.