Nipah outbreak: Virus spreading through direct contact

Kerala Health Minister K.K. Shailaja on Monday said the reason for sudden outbreak of the deadly Nipah virus was due to the disease being spread through direct contact.

Briefing the media, Shailaja said, "Health department has taken all precautions. The virus is spreading through direct contact, through touch or contact with body fluids. All hospitals have been fully equipped to tackle the Nipah virus."

Meanwhile, Kozhikode district collector has confirmed that the total death toll increased to six in Kerala.

This came after the district administration obtained the results from Manipal Centre for Virology. More set of results are under observation and will be out by Monday evening.

A six-member team, led by the director of National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) Dr. Sujeet K. Singh, has arrived in Kerala and are visiting the affected areas.

Dr. Singh told media, "We need to plan a strategy (on the outbreak) which we will roll out soon. We are assessing the situation. We also have to see what magnitude (of the Nipah virus) are we dealing with. Until I go and see how many wells are contaminated or how many bats are affected, we can only take a call after that."

"The samples (of affected bats) have been sent to labs. Whether positive or negative comes, I can't say anything. Most viral diseases can be treated symptomatically, only if it's in the matter of early stages. If we go beyond that, even the best medical treatment will not work," he added.

Earlier, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Monday informed that the state government was closely monitoring the outbreak of Nipah virus in the region and taking every possible step to prevent its further spread.

The Chief Minister's Office (CMO) further said the Health Minister and the Labour Minister are camping in various districts and the private hospital have been instructed to provide with immediate treatment to the patients, suffering from fever.

They further informed that a state-wide alert has been issued to remain vigilant to detect the case without any delay and a 24-hour control room has been opened to monitor the situation.

Earlier in the day, the Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare J.P Nadda directed to constitute a team of highly efficient doctors to probe the outbreak of Nipah virus in Kerala.

This comes after many cases of death, caused due to Nipah virus surfaced in the southern state.

Nine people have died in Kerala's Kozhikode district due to high fever. The state health department earlier confirmed that three out of the nine deceased were affected with the virus.

Nipah virus is a communicable disease spread by fruit bats and is fatal for both animals and humans.

The symptoms of the infection include - fever, headache, drowsiness, respiratory illness, disorientation and mental confusion.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), these signs and symptoms can progress to coma within 24-48 hours.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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