Deadly Virus Carried by Bats Hits India, Raising Fears It Will Spread

Nipah virus outbreak in Kerala India

On an average 7 out of 10 patients affected with Nipah are dying.

India said it has contained the highly contagious Nipah virus that has killed some 10 people in its southern state of Kerala.

Moosa's sons Muhammed Salih and Muhammed Sabith, and his brother Moideen's wife Mariam were the first victims of the Nipah virus outbreak in the state.

In India the disease was first reported in eastern West Bengal state in 2001.

Meanwhile, the Karnataka Health Department has confirmed a suspected case of Nipah virus in the coastal city of Mangaluru.

No. Previous outbreaks have been reported in India, Bangladesh, Thailand, Cambodia, the Philippines, Laos and Malaysia.

Where does the infection come from?

Nipah can be spread by fruit bats, pigs and through human-to-human contact.

A global coalition set up a year ago to fight epidemics has struck a $25 million deal with two US biotech companies to accelerate work on a vaccine against the brain-damaging Nipah virus that has killed 12 people in India. This virus does not make the bats sick, which means that they coexist and have co evolved. "Death rate in this infection is 70-77%", said Dr Suryanarayana Sharma, Neurologist and Stroke Specialist, BGS Gleneagles Global Hospital Bengaluru.

Millions of people from Kerala have sought higher wages by working in Persian Gulf countries, returning home only on vacations. As we know toddy is harvested by a cut that is made into the trunk of the palm tree and sap flows slowly overnight into an open clay pot. During this time the virus in the bats saliva or urine gets into the toddy.

Nipah virus outbreak in Kerala India
REUTERS DEADLY The disease is feared to have spread to a second province in India

- There is no vaccine for the virus.

Also, humans become infected with Nipah as a result of consuming food products contaminated by secretions of infected fruit bats. "They have been asked not to consume fruits without washing them". Reports state that the virus can spread from one infected individual to a healthy person. The virus also transmits from humans to humans. Over the course of the next four to seven days, it can lead to seizures and convulsions, suggesting that the brain is getting infected.

Since it's an airborne transmission infection, it is spread through direct contact with infected bodies.

Another life lost due to the deadly Nipah Virus (NiV) in Kozhikode of Kerela taking the death count to 11.

Infection in humans can have various presentations. According to World Health Organization, human infections range from asymptomatic infection, acute respiratory infection (mild, severe), and fatal encephalitis. Ordinary symptoms like fever and headache followed by drowsiness, weakness, lethargy and confusion occurs.

There is no specific treatment to kill the virus.

There are still 17 patients under treatment. Doctors may have to provide respiratory support to the patients and in case of emergencies shifted on the ventilator.

The major treatment for infected is "Intensive Supportive Care", according to United Nations health body.

It is better to be well informed rather than be anxious.

She started experiencing symptoms of the virus herself on Sunday (May 19) and admitted herself to hospital, asking to be quarantined.

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