August 15, 2018

Nipah Virus: Odisha govt takes precautionary measures

27 May 2018, 12:17 | Rodolfo Wallace

Nipah death toll in India hits 12 as CEPI funds vaccine efforts

How a team of Kerala doctors helped detect the presence of the deadly Nipah virus in record time

Officials in a third Indian state were checking on Friday if two people had been infected with the brain-damaging Nipah virus that has killed 12 in southern Kerala, although the government described the outbreak as minor.

With funding from CEPI, Profectus BioSciences and Emergent BioSolutions will be working on a vaccine for humans based on virus technology developed over 15 years ago by researchers Christopher Broder and Katharine Bossart at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, writes Quartz.

Doctors wear safety masks as a precautionary measure at the Kozhikode Medical College after the "Nipah" virus outbreak, in Kozhikode.

The prevention includes avoiding contact with pigs and pig handlers, maintaining personal hygiene, and hand washing practices, avoiding consumption of raw fruits, consume only well-cooked homemade food till the outbreak settles down.

A multi-disciplinary central team led by the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), reviewing the cases of patients died of the Nipah Virus Disease in Kerala, is of the view that the Nipah virus disease is not a major outbreak and is only a local occurrence.

Nipah virus can be transmitted by infected pigs, or by fruit bats, through their secretions of saliva, urine or faeces.

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The natural host of the virus is believed to be fruit bats of the Pteropodidae family, Pteropus genus. The petitioners claimed that quacks, Mohanan Vaidyar and Jacob Vadakanchery, masquerading as medical experts have posted videos denying the existence of the virus and accusing health department of creating false alarm to benefit pharma companies.

The WHO also states that most people make full recoveries from the disease, but 20 percent of survivors face a lifetime of neurological consequences such as seizures and personality changes. Patients will experience mild to severe acute respiratory infection.

Officials of Medical and Health Department also said that they were advising people not to visit Kerala at least till the situation comes under control.

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Thursday issued an advisory for the general public and healthcare personnel on how to take preventive measures in high-risk areas and how the Nipah virus spreads and what are its symptoms.

There are no vaccines available against Nipah virus (NiV).

There is no real treatment but supportive care is given to the affected patients, which means treating the symptoms differently. The first outbreak of the disease occurred in a Malaysian village in 1998, leading to over 100 deaths, including those of many farmers who had contracted it through their pigs.

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