Bihar issues Nipah virus alert, asks people to take precautions

The new normal

The new normal

Tourism in the state, too, has suffered a setback as many tourists cancelled their bookings last minute due to the outbreak of the virus.

Defining infection as contained, Kerala Health Secretary Rajeev Sadanandan said, "If there are 1 lakh bats in the area and say five of them are infected, the probability of finding one infected bat out of 1 lakh bats is highly improbable". It is the water from the said well that the victims had been using.

At present, there is no vaccine or drug to treat NiV infection in humans or animals.

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That said, as minor and local as the outbreak is, authorities are still taking necessary precautions to ensure that it remains as such. The virus had first emerged in 2001 and then again in 2007. 26-year-old Ebin, a native of Palazhi was undergoing treatment at a private hospital in Kozhikodu. Minister KK Shylaja said, "May the joint efforts finally give the people a new medicine to cure Nipah infection". The Nipah Clinical Trial Working Group of the World Health Organization (WHO) has been rejuvenated following the viral infections reported in Kerala.

Nipah is named after the Malaysian village where it first appeared in 1998. However, in subsequent NiV outbreaks, there were no intermediate hosts. The ministry advised the public to avoid consuming raw date palm sap or toddy and half-eaten fruits from the ground, to refrain from entering into abandoned wells and eat only washed fruits. "The outbreak appears to be a localised occurrence and under control", said Raman Gangakhedkar, a senior scientist and head of the ICMR's communicable diseases division. She was a relative of Janaki, who died of the deceased earlier.

Historically, the virus largely remained in a cluster, and affected those that came in close contact to the patients.

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The WHO also states that most people make full recoveries from the disease, but 20 percent of survivors face a lifetime of neurological consequences such as seizures and personality changes.

In a paper in the journal PLOS One in 2009, Broder and his Australian colleagues had reported successfully testing the m102.4 in ferrets that had been given high-dose intra-nasal sprays of the nipah virus.

According to health experts, Nipah symptoms are not specific and include flu-like illness and hence can be confused with any respiratory illness.

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