Nipah virus outbreak in Kerala

Nipah virus outbreak in Kerala

The state government of Kerala has confirmed through its health authorities that the presence of the Nipah virus in Kerala is found. The state government has also revealed that the strain of the virus detected belongs to the Bangladesh variant. It is considered to spread from human to human, the variant carries a high mortality rate despite being less infectious.

Raising alarms:

The official confirmation of Nipah infections in Kozhikode district has erected alarms as the virus already claiming two lives and infecting two others.

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has corresponded to the state health authorities that they will provide monoclonal antibodies necessary for treating Nipah patients.

The Nipah virus had caused severe illness in India and also had held the history of outbreak in India. There is crucial vigilance and proactive measures are required to containing its spread.

The first case:

The first confirmed case of Nipah virus in recent outbreak was registered with a nine-year-old boy. Then other cases were coming and raised concerns about the virus’s presence in the region.

Health Minister Veena George has also issued various measures for preventing the Nipah virus including intensive surveillance, contact tracing, categorisation of individuals into low and high-risk groups, the establishment of isolation facilities, demarcating containment zones, and the procurement of medicines from the ICMR for infected individuals.

History of Nipah virus:

Two major outbreaks of the Nipah virus had been experienced in Kerala in 2018 and 2021. In 2018, the virus outbreak from several parts of East Asia, particularly Bangladesh.

Bangladesh had seen the highest mortality due to Nipah virus infections. The outbreaks are typically erupted in the winter. In this recent outbreak it was occurred in Bangladesh during January and February 2023 and spread to India after it.

The first time the Nipah virus was identified in 1998-99 when an outbreak of neurological and respiratory disease on pig farms in Malaysia led to the death of 108 humans out of a total of 265 cases.

As per the report of the World Health Organization (WHO) the Nipah virus outbreaks are seasonal in Bangladesh usually between December and May.

Teams from the National Institute of Virology (NIV) of Pune are going to establish a mobile laboratory at Kozhikode Medical College to tackle the situation. Even epidemiologists from Chennai might go to Kerala to assist with the assessment of the situation.


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