Published: Sat, May 26, 2018
Health Care | By Alice Shelton

Case of Nipah Virus suspected after sudden death of bats

Case of Nipah Virus suspected after sudden death of bats

An all-party meeting will be held on May 25.

The Nipah virus outbreak in India's southern state of Kerala is suspected to have spread to the neighboring state of Karnataka, where two people are being tested for it, a health official told CNN.

Eight of the dead are from Kerala's Kozhikode district, the hub of the outbreak, where multiple members of one family were the first to be infected.

The Kozhikode Medical College has 136 patients and nearby Malappuram district 24 patients under observation. "Also, 95 families are under surveillance", health ministry official said.

The minister, however, said there is no scarcity of personal protection equipment.

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He told reporters that fire crews found one person dead at the scene after what he described as an "obvious explosion". Agents from the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were at the scene Tuesday night.

The administration has been asked to ensure availability of isolation and emergency management facilities before referral.

Transmission of Nipah virus takes place through direct contact with infected bats, pigs or other Nipah-infected persons.

The natural host of the virus is believed to be fruit bats of the Pteropodidae family, Pteropus genus. It was first diagnosed in Malaysia in 1988, when pigs were found susceptible to this virus-the farmers and rearers who handled the secretion of the animals eventually fell prey to the disease as well. The awareness is being done to prevent the disease from spreading further, especially to those at high risk. Treatment for the virus, which has a mortality rate of about 70 percent, is supportive care. Infected patients show symptoms of fever and cold in the early stages.

This can be followed by dizziness, drowsiness, altered consciousness, and neurological signs that indicate acute encephalitis. However, given the vast number of viral infections, it is recommended that you don't panic each time someone coughs or experiences respiratory problems, and instead, get a thorough check-up done. "Encephalitis and seizures occur in severe cases, progressing to coma within 24 to 48 hours", World Health Organization reports.

What are the symptoms of the infection? The incubation period ranges between 4 to 18 days. The virus is spread after the fruit bat throw consumed fruits which are later eaten by animals or human. "Specialized team at our strong network of laboratories are trying to find out the causes of outbreak", A.C. Dhariwal of the National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme told the media. Two other outbreaks of the virus were reported in India in 2001 and 2007, respectively, in the eastern state of West Bengal that shares its border with Bangladesh, claiming the lives of over 50 people.

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