Nipah virus hits Kerala again

Despite India is part of the flying foxes territories that spread Nipah Virus Infection (NiV), the central and state government had stopped monitoring the virus after containment of its outbreak in Kerala in May-June 2018, saying it was a local occurrence.

After the another case of NiV was confirmed in Kerala this week, public health and veterinary experts have said that the virus can raise its head again and from anywhere in India.

A 23-year-old college student in Kerala is confirmed to have been infected with Nipah virus, state health minister K K Shylaja said citing report from the Pune-based National Institute of Virology.

“But the public need not panic,” the minister told reporters on Tuesday, as the state is backed with its experience of tackling Nipah from last year and has done several arrangements to treat any wider outbreak so far.

Four others, including two nurses who were in contact with the youth, have shown signs of heavy fever and one of them has been moved into isolation ward, the health minister said.

The government has started a control room number 1077 where the public can get any information on Nipah or clear their doubts or raise concerns, she said.

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan assured all help to Kerala and said he is in touch with Kerala government on the issue. “The Centre will send monoclonal antibody (medicines) to Kerala. Everything that needs to be done in a scientific manner has been initiated. Nothing to panic,” Harsh Vardhan said.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), although the distribution of the virus is restricted so far to Malaysia – Singapore, Bangladesh, and West Bengal and Kerala States in India, the distribution of the flying foxes (bats with >58 species) which are considered as natural hosts of the virus, extends from the east coast of Africa, across South and southeast Asia, east to the Philippines, Pacific islands and Australia.

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