Published: Sat, May 26, 2018
Medicine | By Brett Sutton

Nipah outbreak: Kerala government issues advisory against travelling to four Northern districts

Nipah outbreak: Kerala government issues advisory against travelling to four Northern districts

Ajit Kumar, retired professor of social work from Matru Sewa Sangh, who is now on a visit to Kerala, says that it is the northern part of the state which has been affected.

While 18 people with specific symptoms are admitted at hospitals in Kozhikode, 22 patients with suspected Nipah cases, all from Malappuram district, are admitted at Kozhikode Medical College for observation.

Travel to Kerala, a popular tourist destination, was declared safe by Rajeev Sadanandan, a state health official, who said the outbreak "remains highly localized", with all cases linked to one family.

The Kerala Health minister also said there was no need to be afraid of bats and their habitats should not to destroyed.

The Kerala government on Wednesday asked residents to avoid travelling to four districts in the north of the state amid a Nipah virus epidemic that has claimed 11 lives so far.

Eight of the 11 deaths were reported from Kozhikode and three from Malappuram.

Officers of the Health Department, Animal Husbandry Department and Forest Department arrived at the Burma Papadi School, following a directive from the Deputy Commissioner, and took samples from the dead bats for further investigation.

Government authorities have put Kerala state on high alert. "As the virus has spread in north, its impact is not being felt in south Kerala".

Adding to the 14, a woman nursing student at Kozhikode is reported to have become the latest person to test positive for the infection.

Nipah Virus is a newly emerging zoonosis that causes a severe disease in both animals and humans. "It is hard to know if the symptoms are of Nipah virus or ordinary influenza", says Kurup, adding that unless the situation clears, he will not visit the state.

Kozhikode: Health minister K K Shylaja said that medicines from Malaysia would be brought to treat the Nipah virus outbreak. In the year 2004, the same virus arrived in Bangladesh through infected fruit bats. Treatment for the virus, which has a mortality rate of about 70 percent, is supportive care.

The virus that is usually carried by flying foxes - a kind of bat - or pigs and can be spread between humans through close contact with people's secretions and excretions. Human-to-human transmission has also been documented, including in a hospital setting in India, the World Health Organization says.

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