Health Care

Nipah: Kerala procures 50 doses of monoclonal antibody to combat the virus

Nipah: Kerala procures 50 doses of monoclonal antibody to combat the virus

According to the medical reports, this virus also damages lungs and kidneys of humans.

Also, humans become infected with Nipah as a result of consuming food products contaminated by secretions of infected fruit bats.

The advisory came in the wake of the Nipah virus having taken a toll on human lives in Kerala and also after the death of over dead bats in a school in Sirmaur district which caused Nipah virus scare in the state.

Earlier, samples of three insectivorous bats caught from an unused well of the Moosa family, which lost three members to the virus, were sent to the Bhopal laboratory along with samples of pigs, goats and cattle in the five km radius of the affected area and all of them tested negative, he said.

The local administration in the two districts has set up a taskforce with a designated control room and a nodal officer has been appointed to collect data to ensure preventive measures. However, Bihar reports encephalitis cases every summer, and as one of the reasons of death from Nipah is brain fever - also a symptom of encephalitis - the state health society has chose to keep track. Since it was first described, there had been small outbreaks in Asia and Bangladesh every year, but experts believe it can still spread in other regions especially since its bat hosts can live as far as West Africa and Australia.

It was decided all medical officials in the state will be kept updated on the information regarding the Nipah virus via video conferencing.

She said if people have visited the affected places and if they notice the disease's symptoms in them then they should immediately report to the health centres. Patients will experience mild to severe acute respiratory infection.

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Between four and 14 days may elapse between the infection and a patient's first symptoms.

Public health director VK Mathur said that Nipah virus spreads to humans after direct contact with infected bats or pigs or even humans.

"Mohap alerts the people travelling to Kerala to be aware of possibly of contracting the infection and advises them to postpone unnecessary travel till the situation will be controlled", it added. He said nipah virus is not carried by mosquitoes.

There is no vaccine for Nipah, and no treatment beyond supportive care to make patients comfortable.

Recently 21 samples of pigs and bats were forwarded to Animal Disease Laboratory at the capital city of Madhya Pradesh.

Time reports that during its first outbreak in Malaysia almost 300 farmers became infected and more than 100 died.