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Bats found dead: Has Nipah Virus reached Himachal Pradesh?

26 May 2018

Health officials investigating the outbreak in Kerala, where the first death happened on Friday, have traced it to a well infested with bats from which the victims drew water. "We hope the travel ban will be lifted once the Nipah virus is contained, and eliminated", he said.

The natural host of the virus is believed to be fruit bats of the Pteropodidae family, Pteropus genus. NiV was first identified during an outbreak of disease in Kampung Sungai Nipah, Malaysia, in 1998. Nipah virus, or NiV, has infected 13 other people, two of whom were in critical condition in hospital on Wednesday. The saliva of the fruit bat contains this virus.

A patient suffering from acute Nipah virus can fall into coma within 48 hours.

Dr Brendan Payne, honorary consultant in Infectious Diseases and Virology at Newcastle University, confirmed there is no risk from contact with pigs or bats in the UK.

The death of a nurse due to Nipah encephalitis and the detection of the virus in the blood sample of a nursing student in Kerala's Kozhikode district have exposed the vulnerability of health workers attending to patients infected with the highly contagious virus. Most human cases are dealt with through supportive care.

The WHO has named Nipah as one of the eight priority diseases that could cause a global epidemic, alongside the likes of Ebola and Zika.

"We have opened a control room and we are always on the alert and we are doing everything possible to keep things under check".

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The local administration, with the help of central health ministry team, has set up a task force with a designated control room, while a nodal officer has been appointed to collect data and monitor the activities to ensure preventive measures.

While 18 people with specific symptoms are admitted at hospitals in Kozhikode, 22 patients with suspected Nipah cases, all from Malappuram district, are admitted at Kozhikode Medical College for observation.

Avoid travelling to Kerala or Karnataka at this time.

Keep your surroundings and home clean and motivate other also.

Eleven people have died in the outbreak, Rajeev Sadanandan, additional chief secretary for Kerala's Department of Health and Family Welfare, told CNN.

Prior this, Kerala Governor P. Sathasivam had appealed to the people of the state not to panic over the rumors being circulated about the spread of the virus and urged everyone to follow the advisories issued by the health department.

Bats found dead: Has Nipah Virus reached Himachal Pradesh?