Bihar Govt issues Nipah virus alert

Bihar Govt issues Nipah virus alert

Earlier, Kerala Governor P Sathasivam had appealed to the people of the state not to panic over the rumours being circulated about the spread of the virus and requested everyone to follow the advisories issued by the health department.

The local administration in the two districts has set up a taskforce with a designated control room and a nodal officer has been appointed to collect data to ensure preventive measures.

Although, no Nipah virus related incident has been reported yet in Odisha, the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Bhubaneswar, has already set up an isolated ward to admit patients afflicted with the virus.

The toll in the Nipah virus outbreak in Kerala rose to 12 on Saturday with the death of a woman at the Government Medical College in Kozhikode. "However as per recent information, the outbreak has been localised and hasn't spread beyond Kerala", she said.

Its natural host are fruit bats of the Pteropodidae family, and it was first identified just 20 years ago in 1998 when an outbreak occurred in Kampung Sungai Nipah in Malaysia. Transmission occurs via respiratory droplets, contact with throat or nasal secretions from pigs, or contact with the tissue of a sick animal.

"This is not unusual, but the department has sent bat samples for tests as a precautionary measure", said the official, Ramesh Kang. Human infections can result from contacts with infected pigs.

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"As there is no approved specific therapy for this infection prevention is the only cure". However, Bihar reports encephalitis cases every summer, and as one of the reasons of death from Nipah is brain fever - also a symptom of encephalitis - the state health society has made a decision to keep track. Patients will experience mild to severe acute respiratory infection. "Encephalitis and seizures occur in severe cases, progressing to coma within 24 to 48 hours", World Health Organization reports.

They said the contact-tracing strategy adopted had been successful, especially in Kozhikode, Malappuram and other districts of the State.

The contact-tracing strategy has been successful, the health ministry said, adding that it has been found that all the reported cases - including the suspected cases - had a direct or indirect contact with the first casualty or his family prior to contracting the disease. While saying there was no reason to worry as the virus is generally limited to a place, Health Services Director B.N. Chouhan advised against eating fruits that are fallen on the ground or appear to have animal teeth or claw marks.

There is no real treatment but supportive care is given to the affected patients, which means treating the symptoms differently.

Time reports that during its first outbreak in Malaysia almost 300 farmers became infected and more than 100 died.

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