Kozhikode/Hyderabad, Sept 16 (Hydnow) Kerala is facing a severe health crisis as the Nipah virus re-emerges, with four reported cases and two tragic fatalities. Recognizing the gravity of the situation, authorities have sounded the alarm in Kannur, Wayanad, and Malappuram. Seven-gram panchayats in the region have been designated as containment zones, where the use of masks is now compulsory, extending to local hospitals as well.
In response to the outbreak, the District Magistrate of Kozhikode has ordered the immediate closure of all educational institutions, Anganwadi centers, banks, and government offices within the aforementioned seven panchayats. Only shops selling medicines and essential goods are permitted to operate between 7 am and 5 pm to ensure essential services continue.
A specialized team from the National Institute of Virology (NIV) has been dispatched to Kerala to investigate the Nipah virus and conduct a comprehensive bat survey at Kozhikode Medical College.
Nipah virus is a zoonotic infection, primarily transmitted from animals. It is considered more lethal than the coronavirus, with a mortality rate ranging from 40 to 70%. In response, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has issued a high alert and provided guidance on preventive measures.
The Nipah virus was first identified in 1998 in Sungai Nipah village, Malaysia, and was named after its place of discovery. Typically, the virus is transmitted by bats and pigs. If a bat infected with the virus consumes fruit, and a human or animal subsequently consumes the same contaminated fruit or vegetable, transmission occurs.
Notably, the Nipah virus can also be transmitted from one infected person to another, spreading through saliva, blood, and bodily fluids. This means that caregivers of Nipah-infected patients are at risk, particularly when the patient coughs or sneezes, as the virus can be airborne. Symptoms typically manifest within two to three days, initially presenting as fever, headache, and respiratory distress. Vigilance and adherence to safety measures are paramount in containing this perilous outbreak. (Hydnow)
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