Prelims level : Science & Technology Mains level : Technology, Economic Development, Bio diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management
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Why in News:

  • Nearly a year after a Nipah outbreak in Kozhikode and Malappuram, the deadly disease has resurfaced in Kerala with the confirmation of the infection.


  • The test results have come from the National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune, and it is positive for Nipah.
  • The health authorities have made elaborate arrangements and medicines are in stock.
  • The Health Ministry said the team, comprising an epidemiologist, had been sent to the State to conduct contact tracing for early detection of suspects and review of isolation facilities.

What is Nipah Virus?

  • According to WHO, the Nipah virus infection is a newly emerging zoonosis, that is, a disease transmitted from animals to humans. The virus belongs to a new genus termed Henipavirus (subfamily Paramyxovirinae).
  • The natural host of the virus are fruit bats belonging to the family Pteropodidae. In 2004, humans were affected after eating the date palm contaminated by infected fruit bats. Pigs can also act as intermediate hosts.

What are the symptoms in humans?

  • The symptoms of Nipah are similar to that of influenza: fever, muscle pain, and respiratory problems.
  • Inflammation of the brain can also cause disorientation. Late onset of Encephalitis can also occur. Sometimes a person can have an asymptomatic infection, and be a carrier of Nipah and not show any symptoms.

Are there Any Vaccines?

  • Currently, there are no vaccines for both humans and animals. Intensive supportive care is given to humans infected by Nipah virus.
  • According to WHO, ribavirin can reduce the symptoms of nausea, vomiting, and convulsions associated with the disease.
  • Individuals infected need to be hospitalised and isolated. Special care should be taken to prevent human-to-human transmission. Surveillance systems should be established to detect the virus quickly and to initiate appropriate control measures.
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