Abu Dhabi: The UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention (Mohap) has asked people to put off unnecessary travel to Kerala where a Nipah virus (NiV) outbreak has claimed 10 lives and at least 40 others have been quarantined. According to the medical reports, this virus also damages lungs and kidneys of humans.
With test results showing that a particular variety of bats, found in and around Kozhikode and mostly at the worst-affected Perambara town near here, is not carrying the virus, a special team from Pune is arriving to see how best they can take samples from other varieties of bats also found in this district.
"Though there is minimal possibility of Nipah virus in Sikkim, but the people need to take precaution", it said in an advisory yesterday in the wake of Nipah outbreak in Kerala. He said people should avoid visiting affected areas. Some people can also experience atypical pneumonia and severe respiratory problems, including acute respiratory distress.
Nipah virus is a zoonotic virus, which means it is transmitted from animals to humans.
Nipah virus is on CEPI's list of three targets, which also includes Lassa fever and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus.
Meanwhile, CEPI today announced a collaboration with Profectus BioSciences and Emergent BioSolutions to develop and make a vaccine against Nipah virus, which is harbored in bats and can spread to humans and livestock. Over the past few weeks, many in Kerala have been kept under observation as they are suspected to have contracted the virus.
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Although there has been not a single case of Nipah virus registered in the state till date, but health department needs to remain extra cautious on the issue, Gupta said. The natural host of the virus is fruit bats.
After a scare in Karnataka and Hyderabad, doctors are considering the travel history of patients reporting with symptoms of Nipah, the bad virus, and that is why techies are coming under the radar.
Between four and 14 days may elapse between the infection and a patient's first symptoms. So far, investigations lead officials to believe that the outbreak has not yet spread to other states, as they linked the initial deaths to a specific well that has been colonized by bats. "The disease is treated with supportive and symptomatic care which is the mainstay of the treatment", maintains the advisory.
People are advised to practice good hand hygiene at all times.Health officials said more details about the NiV are available on the health ministry's Facebook page and WHO website.
Nipah virus first appeared in domestic pigs in Malaysia and Singapore in 1998 and 1999.