The Nipah virus scare continues to intensify with Kerala losing at least 10 people to the fatal viral disease. The South Indian state of Kerala has been put on high alert and experts now suspect the deadly virus to spread to Mumbai and Goa as well – hospitals and medical facilities have been alerted.
Goa’s Health Department has asked the authorities to keep the hospitals ready and all facilities updated in the event of an outbreak. Goa’s Health Minister Vishwajeet Rane has informed that Goan authorities will be carrying out random checks on travellers from Kerala as per the medical guidelines provided by the Central government.
Rane added that the Goan officials are in regular touch with the Kerala authorities over the matter. He noted that the virus spreads through fruit seeds and that the disease infected people across the world in the year 2014.
Kerala was put on high alert on Monday after a number of people from one family died in Kozhikode in over a fortnight due deadly Nipah virus. According to the National Virology Institute, Pune, the virus has spread and also killed people in Malappuram districts over the last fortnight. With six more people succumbing to symptoms suspected to be that of the Nipah virus on Sunday, the current death toll stands at nine.
“The kind of virus that caused the disease has not been ascertained. Blood and other samples of the deceased have been sent to the National Virology Institute in Pune. The results will be made available in a few days”, PTI quoted state Health Minister KK Shylaja.
Union Health Minister JP Nadda has on Monday called for the constitution of a high-level team of doctors to tackle the situation in Kerala.
Nipah virus (NiV) infection is a newly emerging disease that can transmit to humans from animals. The natural host of the virus is fruit bats.
The symptoms can range from fever, headache, drowsiness, respiratory illness to disorientation and mental confusion. A person can also go into a state of coma within 24-48 hours. There is no vaccine available for the infection, however, the disease can be prevented by avoiding exposure to sick pigs and bats in endemic areas and by not consuming raw date palm sap.