India's fruit exports face a odd threat - Nipah virus

Saturday, 26 May, 2018

A bat-infested well in a house in India's southern state of Kerala's Kozhikode district has been identified as the likely epicenter of the third outbreak of Nipah virus in this country since 2001, health officials said Wednesday. Sorry. Take care of our children properly... Fruit bats are considered to be the reservoirs of the virus.

In the wake of the sudden outbreak of Nipah virus in Kerala, the Collector Office, Pudducherry on Saturday issued an advisory, mentioning preventive steps to be taken in high-risk areas to check the spread of the contagious disease.

Adding to the 14, a woman nursing student at Kozhikode is reported to have become the latest person to test positive for the infection. "So far, we are not receiving any requests for cancellations, though people are anxious and are inquiring about the prevailing conditions there", she says.

There is no vaccination for the virus which induces flu-like symptoms that lead to an agonising encephalitis and coma.

Nipah, an emerging virus transmitted through animals, is said to have claimed 11 lives in Kerala and is reported to have crossed into the borders of Karnataka as well.

After an initial setback due to reports on Nipah-related deaths, the Kerala tourism industry seems to be clawing back to normalcy."There were cancellations initially, but now the situation is stabilising", said Jose Dominic, MD and CEO of CGH Earth Group.

Blood and body fluid samples from suspected cases in Kerala have been send to the National Institute of Virology in the western city of Pune for study, officials said. "People should not panic".

Ms Lini Puthussery had been treating a family of three who had been diagnosed with the virus, spending an entire night taking care of them. "However if travellers wish to be extra conscious, they may avoid Kozhikode, Malappuram, Wayanad, and Kannur districts".

"We have opened a control room and we are always on the alert and we are doing everything possible to keep things under check".

The government also chose to give Rs 5 lakh each to the next of kin of the nine others who have lost their lives to Nipah.

"More than a third of patients in previous outbreaks have died".

Nipah has killed more than 260 people in Malaysia, Bangladesh and India since 1998 and has a mortality rate of almost 70 percent, according to the World Health Organization.