‘No Nipah virus in insectivorous bats’

  • ‘No Nipah virus in insectivorous bats’

‘No Nipah virus in insectivorous bats’

Global efforts to develop a vaccine are underway following the Nipah virus outbreak in southern India earlier this week. We contained the outbreak effectively and localised it.

Also, chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the state government is closely monitoring the outbreak and taking steps to prevent its further spread.

Simple good hygiene practices such as frequent hand washing and cooking food properly before consuming can help you avoid contracting the brain-damaging Nipah virus which has claimed 12 lives in Kerala till now and led to quarantining of at least 40 others, health experts suggest.

There is no vaccine for the virus, carried by fruit bats, and the only treatment is supportive care.

Spread of the virus to humans may occur after close contact with other Nipah infected people, infected bats, or infected pigs. "However, such outbreaks can not be predicted", he said.

Times Now sources have said that the tests conducted in Bhopal revealed that the virus was not spreading from the bats that were sent for testing.

The advisory underscored that people who are exposed to areas inhabited by fruit bats/articles contaminated by secretions such as unused wells and fruit orchards are likely to be at higher risk of infections.

The global threat that Nipah poses has determined the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) - an worldwide alliance of governmental and non-profit organizations - to act against the deadly virus.

Drawing a parallel of sorts, with the death of a nurse in the current outbreak, Devadasan recalled that in the Siliguri outbreak, major deaths had been those of doctors and nurses who were in direct contact with the patients. "They continued to perform their duties even in those conditions", he said. The government has also made a decision to sack the employees of the electric crematorium who refused to cremate bodies of people who died of Nipah.

The occurrence of Nipah infection in Kerala has hit tourism.

Oommen C. Kurian, fellow, public health, Observer Research Foundation, said that the study proves that bats carrying Nipah virus have possibly been around in many states other than West Bengal, where we had known outbreaks.

However, unless people died in large numbers, an outbreak in a corner of the country would largely remain invisible, he said. In Kerala, bat has been identified as a carrier of the virus. "But we don't know yet about the true spread of this outbreak", he added.