Rare Nipah virus claims fourth family member in India

Rare Nipah virus claims fourth family member in India

Nipa Virus (NiV) infection is a newly emerging zoonosis that causes severe diseases in both animals and humans.

The presence of the Nipah virus was confirmed after tests conducted on Sabith's brother Muhammed Salih, who died on May 18.

Nipah is a rare virus spread through fruit bats, which can cause flu-like symptoms and brain damage.

The dreaded Nipah virus has literally wiped out a family from Perambra in Kozhikode district of Kerala by claiming the life of the fourth member on Thursday. The state's health department has issued an advisory for people traveling to the state.

What is the Nipah virus infection?

The Times of India reported that an all party meeting had been called to discuss the issue on May 25. A female relative who was with them in hospital also died later.

Districts of Kannur, Kozhikode, Malappuram, and Wayanad are identified as unsafe.

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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.

In Kozhikode, from where seven deaths have been reported, District Collector U V Jose has ordered temporary stoppage of all training programmes and summer camps in affected areas such as Changaroth, Koorachund, Kottur, Cheruvannur, Chekyad, Chakkittapara and Olavanna. The anganwadis in these regions too have been asked to close down to avoid spread of the virus among children.

The situation is "under control", with a Central Expert Team continuously reviewing treatment procedures, infection control practices and the availability of personal protective equipment, Sadanandan said. It is localised and not an epidemic, all kinds of precautions are being taken.

In a letter to the medical authorities, the director of Health Services, Braja Kishore Brahma, underscored the need to take preventive measures against the deadly virus as treatment options were limited. Apart from the 10 deaths, 94 people have been quarantined inside their homes while nine others are under surveillance in hospitals in the two districts. However, in subsequent Nipah virus outbreaks, there were no intermediate hosts.

Nipah has killed more than 260 people in Malaysia, Bangladesh and India in outbreaks since 1998.

There is now no vaccine or drug available for humans or animals and the main treatment is intensive support care for those who are suffering from respiratory and neurologic problems.

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