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

Nipah virus scare: No need to panic; adopt good hygiene practices

Nipah virus scare: No need to panic; adopt good hygiene practices

Two of his sons and a sister-in-law had also died from the disease. The vaccine is based on Nipah and Hendra virus technology that got its start more than 15 years ago by scientists at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences and has already done through multiple preclinical trials.

Richard Hatchett, MD, chief executive officer of CEPI, said, the group's first funding agreement to develop a vaccine against Nipah virus marks a vital step forward in the global battle against the disease. Meanwhile, worldwide efforts have begun to develop a vaccine for Nipah. It is not a proven treatment, but it is approved because of a few studies that have proved the anti-viral's benefits. "Along with samples from bats, we also took samples of domesticated animals like cow, goat, rabbit, dog and cat and those too are negative", said a senior official of the state animal husbandry department who did not want to be named.

DME Dr K Ramesh Reddy urged the public not to get carried away by unconfirmed reports of Nipah infection making rounds in social media. The event also showed Nipah's ability to infect and spread from pigs.

Since then, outbreaks have occurred nearly every year in Bangladesh, and twice before in the Indian state of West Bengal.

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The health ministry has issued prevention guidelines advising people to avoid contact with infected bats and pigs, avoid consuming raw foods, eat only well-cooked food, maintaining personal hygiene and hand washing practice, wearing N95 mask and reporting to the doctor in case of any symptoms. Between 1998 and 2015, over 600 cases have been recorded in total, according to the WHO. Local authorities reported finding mangoes bitten by bats in the home of three suspected Nipah victims. "The disease rapidly progresses, with deterioration in consciousness, leading to coma within five to seven days", he said.

Another 40 people with Nipah symptoms, which can include high fever, vomiting and convulsions, are being treated in area hospitals. Historically, the virus had largely remained in a cluster, meaning it was mostly confined to an area, and affected those that came in close contact to the patients, the experts said.

About the treatment, it said that there are now no drugs or vaccines specific for NiV infection and intensive supportive care is recommended to treat severe respiratory and neurologic complications. However, it could take years before the vaccine is ready for clinical use.

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