The Union Health Ministry has sent a high-level multi-disciplinary team to Kerala’s Kozhikode district to probe the rising number of cases and reported deaths due to the Nipah virus. The high-level team from the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has been asked to assist the Kerala government and closely monitor the situation.
“We are closely monitoring the situation. I have spoken to Tourism Minister K J Alphons and Kerala Health Minister K K Shailaja, and assured them all support of the central government. “I have also dispatched a central team to assist the state government and initiate required steps,” Union Health Minister J P Nadda said in a statement from Geneva.
Meanwhile, though the virus has been reported only in Kozhikode, Kerala Chief Minister has issued a statewide alert to remain vigilant. A 24-hour control room has been opened to monitor the situation. CM has also requested all to follow the instructions of the health department to tackle this crisis.
Transmission of Nipah virus takes place through direct contact with infected fruit bats or from other NiV-infected persons. People have been also cautioned that they should not consume fruits that have fallen to the ground.
Nipah virus (NiV) infection in humans has a range of clinical presentations, from asymptomatic infection to acute respiratory syndrome and fatal encephalitis, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).
The Kozhikode health department is maintaining vigilance in the wake of three deaths there reportedly due to the virus. Two more persons, who were allegedly in contact with the deceased, are believed to be in a serious condition.
NiV is also capable of causing disease in pigs and other domestic animals. There is no vaccine for either humans or animals. The primary treatment for human cases is intensive supportive care, the WHO says on its website.