Nipah infections: Don't blame the bats alone, improve public health

Nipah infections: Don't blame the bats alone, improve public health

Nipah infections: Don't blame the bats alone, improve public health

Madhusudhanan (55) of Nellikode in Kozhikode district died tonight, according to health department sources.

The 27-year-old soldier's medical condition, after his return, prompted the authorities to admit him to Command Hospital on May 20, the defence spokesperson said, adding that Prasad passed away five days later.

Ever since the Kozhikode reports broke, the entire country has been on high alert, especially West Bengal, having seen at least two episodes of Nipah virus attacks in the recent past.

Prasad had been on a month's leave to Kerala before rejoining duty on 13 May.

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Once the virus gets into people, it can spread from person to person through close contact with bodily fluids, typically from people who are very sick with Nipah to the family members or health-care workers caring for them.

Two more persons, confirmed of having contracted the virus are being treated at KMCH, he said.

He also said that bats, in reality, have one of the world's finest safety records when it comes to living with people. There is no vaccine for Nipah virus which has a mortality rate of 70%. On May 24, the Health Ministry, Government of India issued a media release stating that a multi-disciplinary team that was reviewing the situation from Kerala had concluded that "the Nipah virus disease is not a major outbreak and only a local occurrence".

Health Minister Vishwajit Rane said the blood samples of the patient which were sent for testing at Pune-based laboratory have come negative.

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The Nipah virus is an RNA virus that can cause a mild to severe disease in both humans and domestic animals.

The outbreak in Kerala has so far affected mainly four districts- Kozhikode, and its neigbouring districts of Malappuram, Kannur and Wayanad. In Tamil Nadu, state Health Minister C Vijaya Baskar has said the government has taken precautionary steps to prevent the appearance of the virus in the state.

Symptoms of the Nipah virus are similar to those of viral fever, including headache, fever, vomiting and dizziness as well as possible disorientation, mental confusion, coma and possibly death.

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