The Indian state of Kerala has issued an alert after two people died from the rare Nipah virus.
The deaths occurred in the state's Kozhikode district, and two relatives of one of the victims have also tested positive for the virus.
This is the fourth Nipah outbreak in Kerala since 2018. The previous outbreaks occurred in 2018, 2019, and 2021.
What is Nipah virus?
Nipah virus (NiV) is a deadly virus that can spread from animals to humans.
It is found in fruit bats, and it can be transmitted to humans through contact with infected bats, their saliva, urine, or other bodily fluids, or through contact with contaminated food or water.
The symptoms of Nipah virus infection can include fever, headache, sore throat, cough, muscle aches, diarrhoea, vomiting, confusion, seizures, and coma.
It also includes encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).
|Transmission||Contact with infected bats, their saliva, urine, or other bodily fluids; contact with contaminated food or water|
|Symptoms||Fever, headache, sore throat, cough, muscle aches, diarrhea, vomiting, confusion, seizures, coma|
|Case fatality rate||40% to 75%|
|Prevention||Avoid contact with bats and their bodily fluids; practice good hygiene; cook food thoroughly before eating it|
The case fatality rate for NiV infection is high, ranging from 40% to 75%.
NiV can spread
- Direct contact with infected bats: This can happen if you touch or handle an infected bat, or if an infected bat bites you.
- Contact with contaminated food or water: This can happen if you eat food or drink water that has been contaminated with the NiV virus.
- Contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person: This can happen if you touch or handle the saliva, urine, or other bodily fluids of an infected person.
There is no specific treatment for Nipah virus infection, but supportive care can help to improve the chances of survival. This may include providing fluids, oxygen, and medications to manage symptoms.
Kerala government steps up
The Kerala government has stepped up surveillance and testing for Nipah virus, and has closed schools and other educational institutions in the Kozhikode district.
The government is also urging people to take precautions to avoid contact with bats and their bodily fluids.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that Nipah virus is a serious threat to public health, and that countries should be prepared for outbreaks.
The WHO recommends that countries develop plans to prevent, detect, and respond to Nipah virus outbreaks.