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All about Nipah Virus outbreak in Kerala

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Nipah Virus

Context of Nipah virus:

Recently, A youth from Ernakulam district in Kerala has tested positive for the Nipah virus infection, a year after a similar outbreak in the state had claimed 17 lives.  As of now, scientists feel the current outbreak is likely localized, like last year’s.

Background of Nipah virus:

  • Nipah has been reported in South East Asian nations, there have been outbreaks in subsequent years. The World Health Organization (WHO) says the infection has been found to be fatal in 40% to 75% of the infected patients.

About Nipah virus:

  • First identified in 1999 in Malaysia, Nipah virus infections have been detected quite frequently in Bangladesh. There have been a few incidents of infection in India earlier, apart from last year’s outbreak in Kerala.
  • There is no treatment available as of now, either for humans or animals nor any vaccine.
  • The natural host of the virus are fruit bats of the Pteropodidae family and Pteropus genus, widely found in South and South East Asia.


  • Patients either show no symptoms of the infection, thereby making it difficult to detect or develop acute respiratory problems, or encephalitis that often becomes fatal.
  • It causes incurable infection in human beings.
  • The Nipah virus infection is generally transmitted from animals to human beings, mainly from bats and pigs.
  • Human-to-human Nipah virus transmission is also possible, and so is transmission from contaminated food.

Spread of Nipah virus in India

The first outbreak was in 2001 in Siliguri, where more than 30 people were hospitalized with suspected infection. Another outbreak happened in 2007 in Nadia of West Bengal. Again, over 30 cases of fever with acute respiratory distress and/or neurological symptoms were reported, five of which turned out to be fatal. Last year, after the outbreak in Kerala, doctors tested samples from suspected cases in Karnataka, Telangana, and Maharashtra. All of them tested negative.

States action to curb the outbreak:

  • People from various districts with whom the student had interacted were under observation.
  • The team, comprising an epidemiologist, had been sent to the State to conduct contact tracing for early detection of suspects and review of isolation facilities.
  • A control room has been set up and the Strategic Health Operations Centre (SHOC) of the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has been activated
Source: Indian Express

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