The Nipah virus death toll in Kerala has gone up to 10 after the death of a nurse in Kozhikode hospital who was treating Nipah-infected patients in the Kerala town.

“I think I am almost on my way; I don’t think I’ll be able to meet you. Please look after our children. Take them with you to the Gulf; don’t be all alone like our father, please.”

These were the last few words written by Lini, the 31-year-old nurse, who died on Monday morning.The letter was addressed to her husband. After consulting the family, authorities cremated the body in an electronic crematorium as a precautionary measure to avoid the spreading of the deadly virus.

Over 90 people are in quarantine, a top health official told news agency AFP. The Nipah virus, which is carried by fruit bats, has a mortality rate of 70 per cent.

Here’s everything that you need to know about the deadly virus 

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A rare and deadly Nipah Virus (NiV) has killed ten people in northern Kerala’s Kozhikode and the number of deaths is expected to increase, as reported by The Hindustan Times. The National Virology Institute in Pune has confirmed that the deceased were infected with the lethal virus and the entire state has been currently put on high alert where the centre is closely monitoring the situation too.

“We are closely monitoring the situation. I have spoken to tourism minister K J Alphons and Kerala health minister K K Shailaja and assured them all support of the central government. I have also dispatched a central team to assist the state government and initiate required steps,” Union health minister J P Nadda said in a statement from Geneva.

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What is Nipah Virus?
According to WHO, Nipah virus (NiV) infection is a newly emerging zoonosis that causes severe disease in both animals and humans. The natural host of the virus is fruit bats of the Pteropodidae Family, Pteropus genus.
The first outbreak of the disease happened in 1998, in Kampung Sungai Nipah, Malaysia, from where the virus received its name. Back at that time, it was caused mainly due to pigs and the disease was prominent amongst the farmers. Later it spread in Bangladesh in 2004, where humans became infected with NiV as a result of consuming date palm sap that had been contaminated by infected fruit bats.

How is it caused?
Transmission of Nipah virus takes place through a contact with infected bats (saliva and faeces), pigs spread it through coughing, and from other NiV-infected people.
Citizens have been alerted to not eat any half-eaten fruits as they might be contaminated by bats.

Nipah virus outbreak PTI Family members of the patients admitted at the Kozhikode Medical College wear safety masks as a precautionary measure after the Nipah virus outbreak, in Kozhikode, on Monday. (PTI Photo)

Symptoms:
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, infection with Nipah virus is associated with encephalitis (inflammation of the brain). The incubation period for the virus ranges from 5 to 14 days, the signs and symptoms become visible after this period wherein the infected can also progress to coma within 24-48 hours.
Other symptoms of the virus range from fever to asymptotic infection, headache, drowsiness, disorientation, mental confusion, and death.

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Precaution:
One needs to take precautions that the food being eaten is not contaminated and has been cooked in proper sanitation conditions. Do not eat half eaten or dropped fruits, there might be a possibility that bats have spoilt them.
It is also necessary to safeguard oneself from other infected patients, it is important to not be in any contact with the affected and maintain distance.
It is required to sanitise oneself and keep their hands and body clean.

Prevention:
According to WHO, there is no vaccine for either humans or animals. The primary treatment for human cases is intensive supportive care. Knowing the symptoms, all we can do is focus on managing fever and the neurological symptoms, and take precautions to not get affected by the deadly virus.

A 24-hour control room has been opened at District Medical Office, Kozhikode. 24-hour control room number: 0495 2376063

According to the reports by NDTV, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s office tweeted that a statewide alert has been issued and that the government has opened a 24-hour control room to monitor the situation.

While the Central government assured full support to the Kerala government, the state government has sanctioned an emergency fund of Rs 2 million (Rs 20 lakh) to the Kozhikode Medical College to tackle the present fever outbreak, as reported by NDTV.

 

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