Nipah virus alert in Bihar


A health official asserts that "A rare virus has killed around 11 people in the neighboring state Kerala, where the medical screws are struggling to manage the spread of this brain-damaging virus".

Officials suspect the zoonosis infection outbreak - that causes disease in both animals and humans - spread from the unused well at Moosa's home where the dead bats were found.

Currently, there is no vaccine or drug for treatment of the NiV infection.

The death toll from the deadly Nipah virus rose to 12 on Thursday as one more person undergoing treatment died this morning. "However, if travellers wish to be extra cautious, the may avoid the four districts". Transmission of Nipah virus to humans may occur after direct contact with infected bats, infected pigs or from other people infected with the virus.

The virus can also affect people's respiratory systems as they may suffer from a cough or have difficulty breathing.

File image of Lini Puthussery, who died after contracting Nipah virus from her patients.

The Commerce Ministry has said it is monitoring the outbreak and will asses if the virus will bear implications for the country's fruit exports. The administration in Nahan sub-division of Sirmaur district in Himachal Pradesh has geared up to curb spread of the virus, and a special meeting of officials from different departments was held.

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The villagers also fear a repeat of the five dengue fever deaths that were reported in the area a year ago.

A total of 10 persons have died in Kerala's Kozhikode district due to viral fever.

While 45 people succumbed to the virus when it broke out in Siliguri town in West Bengal, some five people died in the second outbreak in 2007 in the state's Nadia district. They were the first cases of Nipah reported last week. The Team has also further fine-tuned the draft guidelines, case definitions, advisory for healthcare workers, information to the general public, advisories for sample collection and transportation accordingly. The primary treatment is supportive care.

A central team of experts, who rushed to provide assistance to the state government immediately after the outbreak of the virus and health ministers of other states have expressed satisfaction with the steps taken by the LDF government so far, the statement said.

The virus, which can be transmitted from animals to humans, is hard to diagnose and the symptoms include fever, vomiting and headaches.

According to the World Health Organization, the fruit bat is the natural host of the virus and often do not display any symptoms.