Deadly Virus Carried by Bats Hits India, Raising Fears It Will Spread

WHO warns against outbreak of Nipah virus

Nipah: Medicines to be brought from Malaysia, says minister

While officials of the Health department, Animal Husbandry Department and the Forest Department arrived at Burma Papadi School and have taken samples from the dead bats for investigation, they have assured the people that there is no danger of Nipah virus spreading in the area.

The four districts in Kerala that are affected by the virus are - Kozhikode, Malappuram, Wayanad and Kannur.

The outbreak of Nipah virus, which has resulted in the death of ten people in Kerala, is also likely to have an adverse impact on India's fruit exports.

This comes even as the authorities said that the situation was under control. "In fact, byelections are going on in my district and this virus fear has not had any impact on poll-related activities", he says.

Also, chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the state government is strictly monitoring the spate and taking steps to put off its further spread.

Nipah is a highly infectious virus carried by fruit bats that causes inflammation of the brain in humans.

A large number of medical professionals and health experts deputed by the Centre, state government and the private sector are working in Kozhikode and Malappuram districts.

The health department also advised people to avoid consuming fruits that are half-eaten by bats or birds.

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What is the Nipah virus infection?

"It (outbreak of Nipah virus) is a localised occurrence and there is no need to panic", the minister said. The disease can further spread via human contact. In Himachal Pradesh, the discovery of more than 18 dead bats from a government school premises created panic.

The outbreak of the virus infection, which is a newly emerging zoonosis that causes severe disease in both animals and humans, is suspected to be from an unused well which was infested with bats.

The experimental vaccine being developed by the biotech companies has produced promising results in animal tests, following more than 15 years of research by scientists at the US -based Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences.

Nipah was first identified in 1998 after pig farmers were infected in the village of Kampung Sungai Nipah, in Malaysia.

Treatment options are limited mostly to supportive care.

There are no drugs or vaccine to treat the Nipah virus, which has a high mortality rate, according the World Health Organization.

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