As Nipah virus spread is suspected, government to compensate victims

Nipah virus outbreak in Kerala India

The anganwadis in these regions too, have been asked to close down to avoid the spread of the virus among children.

The Nipah virus (NiV) is one of the deadliest viruses outhere.

Eight of the dead are from Kerala's Kozhikode district, the hub of the outbreak, where multiple members of one family were the first to be infected. Besides, about 160 samples have been sent for testing at the virology institute.

The Nipah Virus began in the northern district of Kozhikode at the weekend that has now spread to the neighbouring Malappuram district in Kerala. Two people have died in the neighboring district of Mallapuram.

According to NDTV, there is a fear that two people in Karnataka may also be infected with the virus.

Nipah virus outbreak in Kerala India
REUTERS DEADLY The disease is feared to have spread to a second province in India

The Union Health Ministry said on Wednesday that Nipah virus had infected 18 people and killed 11 of them in Kerala. He said necessary instructions have been issued to all officers in the state to keep a strict watch on pig farms as well as areas that are populated by the animals. Facilities for ensuring individual safety would be made available in all hospitals. "Both the central and the state health authorities have been quick in responding to the situation and have promptly deployed teams and experts to the village to further assess the situation".

The outbreak of Nipah virus, which has resulted in the death of ten people in Kerala, is also likely to have an adverse impact on India's fruit exports. The natural hosts of the virus are fruit bats.

Currently, there is no vaccine or drug for treatment of the NiV infection. Treatment for human cases is management treatment along with intensive supportive care. Encephalitis and seizures occur in severe cases, progressing to coma within 24 to 48 hours. However, an incubation period as long as 45 days has been reported. "If travellers wish to be extra-cautious they may avoid these districts for some time", said the advisory adding the government has taken effective measures to contain the virus and surveillance is on persons who were in contact with the affected persons.

Transmission of NiV takes place through direct contact with infected bats, pigs or other NiV-infected persons. Nipah is a emerging zoonotic diseases that affects humans and animals.

There is now no vaccine or treatment to tackle Nipah, which has a mortality rate of around 70 percent.

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