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Deadly Nipah virus hits Kerala state after three years

It is likely to cause serious public health as the state is already reeling under the pressure of the Covid-19 pandemic.

SNS | New Delhi |

After a gap of three years, the deadly Nipah virus hit the Kozhikode district of Kerala again killing a 12-year-old boy this morning.

It is likely to cause serious public health as the state is already reeling under the pressure of the Covid-19 pandemic. The Centre has rushed a team of NCDC (National Communicable Disease Control Programme) to Kerala to provide technical support to the state.

The Nipah virus spreads through the saliva of fruit bats. Earlier, it spread in 2018 in the Kozhikode and Malappuram districts of Kerala. Taking this outbreak seriously, the Centre has asked states to launch a massive operation of active contact tracing, for any person who had reported the symptoms of this virus during the past 12 days.

The Centre asked the Kerala government for a strict quarantine of the contacts and to keep all suspects in isolation. The NCDC team would also collect the samples for lab testing to keep a check on the virus.

Since this virus has also affected Malappuram districts in 2018, Government is also actively keeping a close watch on families, villages and areas in Malappuram and areas with similar topography mainly Malappuram.

The first case of Nipah was reported in a 12-year old boy with features of encephalitis and myocarditis on September 3. He later succumbed to the virus on September 5.

Like Covid-19, Nipah is also a zoonotic virus–a virus that spreads from animals to humans. It is transmitted from its natural host — flying foxes (fruit bats) — to animals and humans.

It is believed that it mainly affects animals like pigs, dogs and horses, however, it spreads among humans, Nipah virus can cause serious illness which may result in death.