In response to the rise of Nipah infections, the Health Minister of Kerala Veena George, has stated that the virus strain found in the state is the Bangladesh variant.
This particular variant is transmitted from human to human and has a high mortality rate, although it is less infectious.
On Monday (11 September), the Health Minister confirmed that two individuals had died from Nipah infection at a private hospital in Kozhikode.
Currently, there are two individuals, one adult and one child, who are infected and receiving treatment at the hospital.
The Health Ministry of Kerala has conducted tests on over 130 people for the virus. Nipah is transmitted to humans through direct contact with the bodily fluids of infected bats, pigs, or other individuals.
Seven village panchayats in Kerala's Kozhikode district have been designated as containment zones. These include Atanchery, Tiruvallur, Maruthonkara, Kuttiyadi, Kayakkodi, Villyapalli, and Kavilumpara.
In response to the situation, a team from Pune's National Institute of Virology will be arriving in Kerala today (13 September).
They will be setting up a mobile laboratory at Kozhikode Medical College to conduct Nipah virus testing and survey bats. The state government made this announcement during the assembly session on Wednesday (13 September).
The Nipah virus is caused by fruit bats, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). This virus is potentially fatal to both humans and animals.
Transmission of the Nipah virus to humans can occur through close physical contact with infected individuals, particularly through contact with their body fluids. Another mode of transmission is through the consumption of raw date palm sap, that has been contaminated by bat urine or saliva.
The Nipah virus can cause various symptoms in infected individuals. These include respiratory illnesses, fever, headache, cough, muscular pain, dizziness, and nausea.
It is important to seek medical attention promptly if you suspect Nipah virus infection. Currently, there are no specific drugs or vaccines available for targeting Nipah virus infection.
Nipah virus is recognised as one of the urgent epidemic threats by the WHO Research and Development blueprint, requiring immediate action in terms of research and development.
However, Ribavirin, an antiviral medication, may play a role in reducing mortality among patients with encephalitis, caused by Nipah virus disease.
The primary approach to managing the infection in individuals involves intensive supportive care and treatment of symptoms.
Bhuvan Krishna is Staff Writer at Swarajya.
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