Kerala: Nipah virus CONFIRMED; AIIMS Doctors reach Kochi
Kochi: The Nipah Virus (NiV) has once again surfaced in the state of Kerala after claiming the lives of 17 patients last year.
PTI reports that a 23-year-old patient who is currently admitted to a private hospital in Kochi, is confirmed to have been infected with the Nipah virus, while 86 others are under medical observation, Kerala Health Minister K K Shailaja Tuesday said.
The results of blood samples of the student, which were tested at the National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune, have confirmed Nipah.
Earlier, blood samples examined at two virology institutes--Manipal Institute of Virology and Kerala Institute of Virology and Infectious Diseases--had indicated Nipah.
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The minister further said a list of 86 people who have interacted with the student has been prepared and they were under medical observation. Two nurses, who had initially attended to the patient, complained of sore throat and fever and they are also under observation of the health department.
The Minister urged people not to panic and take precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the disease.
Appealing to social media users not to spread panic among the public, she said stringent action would be taken against those indulging in such acts.
Meanwhile, a six-member medical team including doctors from All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi reached the affected area in the wake of Nipah virus outbreak in Kerala.
The medical team reached here following Union Health Minister Harsha Vardhan's assurance to State Health Minister K K Shailaja that the Centre will extend all help to the State to contain the spread of disease, Health Department sources said.
- Fruit bats of the Pteropodidae family are the natural host of the Nipah virus.
- Nipah virus can be transmitted to humans from animals (such as bats or pigs), or contaminated foods and can also be transmitted directly from human-to-human.
- Medical experts from Kozhikode have already reached Kochi and there were enough medicines and medical equipment to deal with the situation, she said.
- According to the WHO, Nipah virus is a newly emerging disease that can be transmitted from its reservoir (natural wildlife host), the flying foxes (fruit bats), to both animals and humans.
- It takes its name from Sungai Nipah, a village in Malaysia where it was first identified.
- Symptoms range from asymptomatic infection, acute respiratory infection (mild, severe), and fatal encephalitis. Infected people initially develop influenza-like symptoms of fever, headache, myalgia, vomiting and sore throat.
- This can be followed by dizziness, drowsiness, altered consciousness, and neurological signs that indicate acute encephalitis.
- Some people can also experience atypical pneumonia and severe respiratory problems, including acute respiratory distress. Encephalitis and seizures occur in severe cases, progressing to coma within 24 to 48 hours.
What is Nipah Virus?
Nipah virus (NiV) infection is a newly emerging zoonosis that causes severe disease in both animals and humans. The natural host of the virus are fruit bats of the Pteropodidae Family, Pteropus genus. Here are a few facts about the virus
- The natural host of this virus is believed to be fruit bats of the Pteropus species, four of which have been demonstrated to have serologic evidence of infection with this virus. The virus has also been isolated from fetal tissue and uterine fluids of these bats.
- Nipah and Hendra viruses are two related zoonotic pathogens that have emerged in the Asia-Pacific region. Both are RNA viruses that belong to the Paramyxoviridae family.
- The viruses jump the species barrier and infect a secondary animal host (eg, pigs or horses), and transmit infections to humans. In addition, the Nipah virus may be able to spread from human to human.
- Nipah virus primarily causes an encephalitic syndrome with a high mortality rate. The characteristic MRI abnormalities are multiple, small (less than 5 mm), asymmetric focal lesions in the subcortical and deep white matter without surrounding edema.
- The incubation period ranges from 7 to 40 days. The initial presentation is non-specific, characterized by the sudden onset of fever, headache, myalgia, nausea and vomiting.Meningismus is seen in approximately one-third of patients although marked nuchal rigidity and photophobia are uncommon. Patients infected with Hendra virus have presented with fever and influenza-like illnesses, or with meningoencephalitis.
- The diagnosis of Nipah virus can be established using an Enzyme-Linked Immunoassay (ELISA). Supportive care is the mainstay of treatment and infected patients may requireintensive care monitoring.