Nipah virus: The 101 on the infection claiming lives in South India

Nipah virus what are the symptoms and how is it spread

The UAE and Bahraini governments are urging their citizens in Kerala and elsewhere in south India to exercise caution following a deadly Nipah virus outbreak that has killed at least 10 people.

Experts believe both Nipah and Hendra are spread by flying foxes - bats of the genus Pteropus - with humans becoming infected by exposure to bat urine and saliva on fruit, or from infected pigs and horses.

Nipah Virus infection ( NiV) has surfaced in the southern belt of India and is doing the talks deeply.

The Nipah Virus began in the northern district of Kozhikode at the weekend that has now spread to the neighbouring Malappuram district in Kerala.

Transmission of NiV takes place through direct contact with infected bats, pigs or other NiV-infected persons. Two other outbreaks of the virus were reported in India in 2001 and 2007, respectively, in the eastern state of West Bengal that shares its border with Bangladesh, claiming the lives of over 50 people.

The natural host of the virus are fruit bats.

Nipah is a rare virus spread through fruit bats, which can cause flu-like symptoms and brain damage.

Nipah virus what are the symptoms and how is it spread
Getty nimal Husbandry department and Forest officials inspect a well to to catch bats in Kozhikode

Wednesday was the first day when no death was reported in the district after the presence of Nipah virus was confirmed on Sunday.

The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) said on Thursday that Profectus BioSciences and Emergent BioSolutions would receive up to $25 million to advance development and manufacturing of a shot for the bat-borne disease.

A nurse who treated some of the victims died after becoming infected herself. With this, the number of people infected with Nipha virus has risen to 13 of which 10 have died.

"This is a new situation for us; we have no prior experience in dealing with the Nipah virus", said K.K. Shailaja, health minister of the state, according to Reuters.

Taking cognizance of the issue, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare J.P Nadda also directed to constitute a team of six doctors to probe the outbreak of the virus. There is no vaccine for either humans or animals, with primary treatment for human cases being intensive supportive care. Human to human contact as well as animal to human contacts have been documented.

The anganwadis in these regions too, have been asked to close down to avoid the spread of the virus among children.

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