UAE issues Kerala travel warning over Nipah virus outbreak

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One more death has been reported in India's Nipah virus outbreak, and today the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) announced a $25 million collaboration with two pharmaceutical companies to develop a vaccine against the disease, one of the group's priority diseases.

The global threat that Nipah poses has determined the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) - an worldwide alliance of governmental and non-profit organizations - to act against the deadly virus.

The latest victim was identified as 26-year-old Ebin, who was admitted at a private hospital in Kozhikode with infection. However, the authorities are still clueless about the actual source of the spread of the virus. "Also, Mohap is in continuous coordination with the World Health Organisation (WHO) to implement the global recommendations", it added.

Nipah virus cases were previously reported from West Bengal's Siliguri in 2001 and Nadia district in 2007.

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Fruit sellers are severely affected by the outbreak of the virus. Eating food which may have the droplets of saliva and urine of infected bats can lead to the transmission of the virus.

But panic has already set in, with tests having been ordered after several bats were found dead at a secondary school in the state of Himachal Pradesh.

The Sikkim health department has issued an advisory urging the people of the state to take precaution against Nipah virus.

The Union wellbeing service has said the infection has not spread past Kerala.

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The motor vehicles department here has warned bus and autorickshaw owners of strict action if they decline hospital staff a ride fearing Nipah virus.

Meanwhile, five medical professionals have been sent to Delhi for an intensive course at the Safdarjung Hospital there to learn the treatment protocols to be followed in such cases. The natural host of the virus is fruit bats.

The current understanding of Nipah virus so far is that the virus first attacks the respiratory system, and then spreads to the nervous system and the brain.

Another 40 people with Nipah symptoms, which can include high fever, vomiting and convulsions, are being treated in area hospitals. Avoid pork, as pigs are also suspected carriers of the disease, if they eat what is touched by bats. The first outbreak of the disease occurred in a Malaysian village in 1998, leading to over 100 deaths, including those of many farmers who had contracted it through their pigs.

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