Following reports of Nipah virus cases in Kerala, the Karnataka government issued advice on Tuesday to avert a similar epidemic in the state. In Kerala’s Kozhikode, the virus killed a 12-year-old kid and sickened some healthcare personnel.
The state of Karnataka has warned regions bordering Kerala to be particularly cautious. Fever, changed mental status, extreme weakness, headache, respiratory distress, cough, vomiting, muscle soreness, convulsions, and diarrhea are among the symptoms that have been reported by persons arriving from Kerala.
The Karnataka government has also instructed district officials to build a systematic surveillance system to identify clusters of encephalitis cases so that Nipah outbreaks can be detected early. They’ve also been instructed to raise public awareness about it.
The advisory further said, “Suitable samples to be collected with all necessary precautions from suspected or probable patients and sent to NIV Pune for laboratory confirmation.”
What is Nipah Virus?
Nipah is a zoonotic virus that can be spread from animals to humans, as well as through contaminated food or directly between people, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). This virus is primarily spread by fruit bats.
It is not an airborne infection; rather, it is spread by bats and pigs. It is lethal not only to people but also to animals.
Symptoms of Nipah Virus
Those infected with the Nipah virus may experience symptoms similar to Covid. Cough, sore throat, dizziness, fatigue, muscle discomfort, exhaustion, and encephalitis, which causes a headache, stiff neck, sensitivity to light, mental disorientation, and convulsions, are all frequent symptoms of Nipah Virus. It is also possible to go unconscious, which can lead to death.
According to WHO, the Nipan virus was initially discovered in Malaysia in 1999 following an outbreak among pig farmers. In India, it was initially discovered in Siliguri, West Bengal, in 2001, where 45 people perished. It was reported in numerous cases in Kerala in 2018.
The virus has a two-week incubation period.