Understanding Nipah virus & public health effect

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Transmission of Nipah virus takes place through direct contact with infected bats, pigs or other Nipah-infected persons.

Medics wearing protective gear examine a patient at a hospital in Kozhikode in the southern state of Kerala, India May 21, 2018.

Officers of the health, animal husbandry and forest departments arrived at the school and took samples of the dead bats.

"The virus has spread in only two districts and it is all peaceful and safe elsewhere in the state", says Radhkrishnan, member of Hindu Mitra Mandal, a community organization in the city. "However, if travellers wish to be extra cautious, they may avoid the four districts", Health Secretary Rajeev Sadanandan said.

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One of the 10 victims was a nurse who died on Monday after treating a Nipah patient in hospital. I don't think I will be able to see you.

Death of Moosa was confirmed at a private hospital where he was being treated. In Karnataka, health officials have been put on alert.

State National Health Mission Director Keshvendra Kumar, who reviewed the situation in the district, said "ribavirin" - a medicine that has shown to be effective against Nipah virus - has been procured by Kerala Medical Services Corporation Ltd. Two "control rooms" in the worst-hit Kozhikode district have been set up to closely monitor the spread of the virus.

State Health Minister K K Shailaja Teacher said, "As of now, we have test results of 18 samples".

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With the deaths due to the deadly Nipah virus being reported so far from northern Kerala, the state government has issued an advisory, asking travellers to avoid visiting the four districts of Kozhikode, Malappuram, Wayanad and Kannur.

Ajit Kumar, retired professor of social work from Matru Sewa Sangh, who is now on a visit to Kerala, says that it is the northern part of the state which has been affected.

There had been no travel advisories issued Wednesday morning by the Indian central government or the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi. The virus, which is released through bats' saliva, urine and excreta, typically spreads due to bats consuming fruits on trees.

Nipah, which the World Health Organisation describes as a "newly emerging zoonosis that causes severe disease in both animals and humans" has killed over 260 people in India, Bangladesh and Malaysia since it was first detected in 1998.

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