Thiruvananthapuram. A 12-year-old child died at a private hospital in Kozhikode, Kerala on Sunday due to Nipah virus infection. The child had symptoms of encephalitis and myocarditis – meaning inflammation of the brain and heart muscles at the same time. The baby’s sample was sent to the National Institute of Virology in Pune for testing, which tested positive for Nipah virus. A team has been sent to Kerala to help tackle the Nipah virus, the central government said in a statement.
Know after Nipaar
Nipah virus is a zoonotic virus, which spreads from animals to humans. The virus is also spread through contaminated food or through contact with each other. The virus responsible for NiV encephalitis is Paramyxoviridae, an RNA virus of the genus Henipivirus. And it is closely associated with the Hendra virus. In 1994 the virus was isolated in Australia.
The HEV and NiV viruses are found in bats (fruit bats), known as flying foxes. Infected fruits spread the virus to other animals, including pigs, dogs, goats, horses, and sheep. The virus can spread to humans if it comes in contact with these animals. However, the virus is also spread through sweat and urine excreted from the body of infected animals.
Once the NIV virus has spread from person to person, it can spread from person to person.
Nipah virus cases worldwide
The first case of Nipah virus was reported in 1998-99 in Malaysia and Singapore. The name Nipah originates from a village in Malaysia, where a person first died due to a virus infection. In the first outbreak, a person came in contact with a domesticated pig and became infected. A total of 300 people were infected and more than 100 died. More than a million pigs died to prevent infection.
Although the number of Nipah virus has been low in Malaysia and Singapore since then, there have been cases of Nipah virus infection in India and Bangladesh. The virus spread in Bangladesh in 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2011. In India, Nipah virus infection is limited to West Bengal and Kerala.
Nipah virus cases in India
For the first time in India, Nipah virus infection was reported in January-February 2001 in Siliguri, West Bengal. A total of 66 cases have been registered. Although the death rate from the infection was very high, 3 out of four infected people died. In 2007, the virus re-emerged in India and infected 50 people in the Nadia district adjacent to Bangladesh. According to the Indian Express, 5 people have died due to Nipah infection.
Nipah was recognized in India in May-June 2011, when 1 case of Nipah virus was reported in Kozhikode, Kerala, in which 1 17 people died. This included cases that could not be confirmed in lab tests.
Symptoms of Nipah virus, and how dangerous it is
Moderate to severe disease is seen in NIV infection. For this reason, the brain of the infected person starts to swell and it can also cause death. Symptoms begin to appear within 4 to 2 weeks of the person being exposed to the virus. The patient often complains of fever and headache. This problem can last from three days to a few weeks. In addition, shortness of breath, cough, sore throat and difficulty breathing are also common symptoms.
If the condition of the infected patient deteriorates, it can lead to encephalitis and the patient may experience drowsiness, disorientation and mental confusion and this condition may quickly go into a coma within 1-2 days. In these cases, 40 to 75 percent of deaths occur. According to the World Health Organization, the death rate due to Nipah virus in Kozhikode in 2018 was 90 percent.
However, long-term side effects have been observed in those who survived the Nipah virus. Some people who recovered after receiving treatment for the virus also saw changes in a person’s personality. According to the US Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in some cases of infection, symptoms of the Nipah virus appear a month or a year later.
How did Kerala deal with the Nipah virus
In Kerala, Kerala had no experience in dealing with the Nipah virus. In such a situation, the state government follows protocol to deal with the Ebola virus. The virus is particularly prevalent in sub-Saharan Africa.
The Kerala government, as part of its strategy, has conducted contact tracing of people associated with the infected person and kept them in isolation for 21 days. Once the contact is detected, the person’s route map is identified so that secondary contact with the virus can be detected.
In June 2018, Kozhikode and Malappuram quarantine had three thousand people at a time. People from the health department went from house to house to search the families of the infected people and also identified the relatives who had cremated the bodies of those who had died of the Nipah virus.
Everyone who came in contact with the infected person was monitored. A control room was opened in each district and activities were being monitored in collaboration with all departments.
Those who were kept in isolation, especially health workers were given psychological support. Counseling was done to protect people from being traumatized by a deadly epidemic. The health department will contact these people twice a day and ask about their health. Ambulances were deployed in the affected areas, especially in Kozhikode area, where the suspected patient would be immediately taken by ambulance from his home to the hospital and kept in the special isolation ward of the medical college.
The family of the infected patient will be monitored and given 10 kg of rice, 1 kg of sugar, salt, green gram, tur dal, tea and spices. In 2019, when the Nipah virus case was reported in Kerala, there was a protocol before the state government. Only one case of Nipah virus has been reported in Ernakulam district this year.
There were no cases of Nipah virus in Kerala in 2020, but the protocol was updated and the entire system was updated. Kerala Health Minister KK Shailja has received international recognition for tackling the Nipah virus and Kerala’s public health response has caught everyone’s attention. Kerala has the experience and measures to tackle the Nipah virus in 2021, which will help the state.
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