After a gap of over three years, a case of the zoonotic Nipah virus infection has been reported in Kozhikode district of Kerala.
- A contact list of 188 persons, a majority of them healthcare workers, has been prepared. Symptomatic persons will be shifted to hospital.
- At a time when there is a relentless surge in Covid-19 infections in Kerala, accounting for a lion’s share of the nationwide case load, the return of the dreaded Nipah virus to the State is a cause for major concern.
- This is the time for the Centre and the State government to take up containment measures with mutual trust and coordination.
- There are urgent steps that need to be taken jointly, including contact tracing, quarantine, isolation, collection, and transportation of samples for lab testing and a detailed study of the surrounding areas by the National Centre for Disease Control from an epidemiological standpoint.
- It is a zoonotic virus (it is transmitted from animals to humans).
It first broke out in Malaysia and Singapore in 1998 and 1999.
It first appeared in domestic pigs and has been found among several species of domestic animals including dogs, cats, goats, horses and sheep.
Spread: The virus is transmitted to people from animals and can also be passed on through contaminated food or directly from person-to-person.
- Fruit bats are considered to be a natural reservoir of the virus.
- Symptoms include acute encephalitis and respiratory illnesses.