Puducherry: Following the admission of a suspected Nipah virus case at Jipmer Hospital, the Health Department conducted an emergency meeting on preparedness and prevention of Nipah virus this evening.
According to an official statement, Head of Institution and Department of Medicine from government tertiary case institutions namely district headquarters hospital, state medical college, Government women and children hospital and Jipmer participated in the meeting.
The patient came from Guruvayur (Kerala) to his native place Cuddalore with high fever and encephalitis was admitted to Jipmer. The body fluids collected from the patient has been sent to Pune virology research Institute to test for Nipah virus.
Isolation ward have been identified in both government hospital for chest disease with the support of Indira Gandhi Medical College and Research Institute and Jipmer. The meeting directed all private medical colleges to be prepared to handle Acute Encephalitis syndrome cases and isolation wards with beds dedicated for Nipah kept ready.
It was decided to direct the sick passengers coming here from high-risk areas of Kerala namely, Trissur, Kollam, Ernakulam and Idukki districts to the isolation facility at Government Hospital for Chest Disease where these suspected are screened for Nipah. If the sick travellers are not suspected of Nipah virus patients, home care under isolation will be advised.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
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