State steps up vigil against Nipah virus

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The Kerala state has witnessed 17 deaths in the last two weeks of whom three people have died in the last two days.

Resin, 25, who died yesterday, was initially treated at the Balussery hospital when another Nipah affected patient, Nikhil was undergoing treatment.

Schools in Malappuram, Kozhikode and Wayanad districts will remain closed till June 12 as a precautionary measure against Nipah virus, reported India Today. Two other outbreaks of the virus were reported in 2001 and 2007, respectively, in eastern state of West Bengal that shares its border with Bangladesh, claiming 50 lives.

In a statement, the WHO said that it has shared materials, especially risk communication materials on Nipah virus, including those used in Bangladesh, with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

Public health officials at primary health centres are being trained to identify symptoms and transmission of the virus.

The advisory, meanwhile, says people don't need to be scared - as it has only a local occurrence in two Kerala districts only - but asked people to be cautious while consuming these fruits. As Nipah virus encephalitis can be transmitted from person to person, standard infection control practices and proper barrier nursing techniques are important in preventing hospital acquired infections.There are no vaccines available at present. The concerned people were reportedly in the contact list of those who have fallen victims to the deadly virus.

A 39-year-old woman, Roja, who had shown symptoms of nipah infection, died on Saturday morning, causing a scare about a second outbreak.

The MoPH has maintained strict control and surveillance at the various ports of entry to Qatar and urged residents not to travel to Kerala unless it is unavoidable until the spread of the disease is contained.

Health minister K K Shailaja said that those in contact with Nipah patients should be cautious till the end of the virus's incubation period and, hence, daily screening of these people has become essential to stop the spread of this risky virus. Majority of the cases were found to have had contact with other Nipah cases.

Recently, the news of Nipah virus cases being detected in Meghalaya was being circulated on WhatsApp.