Published: Sat, May 26, 2018
Health Care | By Cedric Leonard

Nipah Virus May Have Reached Karnataka, Two Patients In Mangalore Under Observation

Nipah Virus May Have Reached Karnataka, Two Patients In Mangalore Under Observation

The UAE Consulate of Kerala in Thiruvananthapuram has issued a warning on its official Twitter handle regarding the recent Nipah virus outbreak. Two patients are undergoing treatment in private hospitals and one at Kozhikode Medical College.

State National Health Mission Director Keshvendra Kumar, who reviewed the situation in the district, said "ribavirin" - a medicine that has shown to be effective against Nipah virus - has been procured by Kerala Medical Services Corporation Ltd. Blood, urine, and throat swab of patients suspected to have contracted Nipah virus infection would be collected at the District Hospital and the General Hospital and sent to the Virology Institute at Manipal for testing.

A global coalition set up a year ago to fight epidemics has struck a $25 million deal with two USA biotech companies to accelerate work on a vaccine against the brain-damaging Nipah virus that has killed 12 people in India. In 2007 outbreak, a number of bats were observed hanging from trees around a patient's home which suggested the animals were the source of the virus then. Her body was cremated soon after her death over fears the virus could spread; her family wasn't able to see her.

Nipah Virus is a newly emerging zoonosis that causes a severe disease in both animals and humans. In Bangladesh in 2004, humans were infected with Nipah virus after consuming date palm sap that had been contaminated by infected fruit bats.

Nipah was first identified in 1998 after pig farmers were infected in the village of Kampung Sungai Nipah, in Malaysia.

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Human-to-human transmission of the virus has been recorded in previous outbreaks in India that killed as many as 50 people.

The incubation period (interval from infection to the onset of symptoms) is believed to range between from 4-14 days. The symptoms are nearly identical to influenza, including fever and muscle ache and in some cases patients have brain inflammation as well.

Treatment options are limited mostly to supportive care. The disease can further spread via human contact.

There are no drugs or vaccine to treat the Nipah virus, which has a high mortality rate, according the World Health Organization.

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