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6 deaths in Kozhikode: What is Nipah Virus? Know all about it

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The south Indian state of Kerala has been put on high alert after six people have died of a mysterious viral attack in Kozhikode, with two deaths attributing to Nipah virus (NiV).

Three deaths in Kozhikode: What is Nipah Virus? Know all about it

Nine people have died in Calicut district following high fever. Health dept confirmed that out of nine,two persons were affected with Nipah virus. The samples of the other deceased have been sent for tests. A task force has been formed under District Collector U V Jose

Meanwhile, Union Minister J P Nadda has directed the Director of National Centre for Disease Control or NCDC to visit Kerala's Kozhikode district to assist the state government in the wake of death of three people due to Nipah virus there.

What is Nipah Virus?

Nipah Virus is an emerging infectious disease that broke out in Malaysia and Singapore in 1998 and 1999. The natural host of the virus are fruit bats of the Pteropodidae Family, Pteropus genus.

In Bangladesh in 2004, humans became infected with NiV as a result of consuming date palm sap that had been contaminated by infected fruit bats. Human-to-human transmission has also been documented, including in a hospital setting in India.

Signs and Symptoms:

Infection with Nipah virus is associated with encephalitis (inflammation of the brain). After exposure and an incubation period of 5 to 14 days, illness presents with 3-14 days of fever and headache, followed by drowsiness, disorientation and mental confusion.

No vaccine for either humans or animals:

NiV infection in humans has a range of clinical presentations, from asymptomatic infection to acute respiratory syndrome and fatal encephalitis. NiV is also capable of causing disease in pigs and other domestic animals. There is no vaccine for either humans or animals.

How is Nipah virus treated?

In humans, the primary treatment for Nipah virus is intensive supportive care. The drug ribavirin has been shown to be effective against the viruses in vitro. However, the clinical efficacy of ribavirin remains inconclusive to date in human trials.

How can it be prevented?

Avoiding exposure to sick pigs and bats in endemic areas, not drinking raw date palm sap, and not consume fruits that have fallen on to the ground can help prevent Nipah virus infection.

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