US biotechs to speed work on Nipah vaccine as virus hits India

Nipah virus what are the symptoms and how is it spread

Nurse Lini Puthussery, who had initially treated the affected members of Moosa's family in the Perambra Taluk hospital in the district, also died after being infected by the virus.

Director of Health Services Dr R L Sarita said the blood and body fluid samples from all suspected patients have been sent to Manipal Institute of Virus Research.

There has not yet been an official statement from Public Health England about travel to Kerala, but the risks to travellers are likely to be extremely low. "However, if travellers wish to be extra cautious, they may avoid the four districts", Health Secretary Rajeev Sadanandan said.

The anganwadis in these regions too, have been asked to close down to avoid the spread of the virus among children. "The situation is under control".

A large number of medical professionals and health experts deputed by the Centre, state government and the private sector are working in Kozhikode and Malappuram districts.

The administration in Nahan sub-division of Sirmaur district in Himachal Pradesh has geared up to curb spread of the virus, and a special meeting of officials from different departments were held.

Nipah virus what are the symptoms and how is it spread
Getty nimal Husbandry department and Forest officials inspect a well to to catch bats in Kozhikode

Symptoms of the virus were seen in a 20-year old woman and a 75-year-old man in Karnataka's port city of Mangalore after they travelled to Kerala and came into contact with infected patients there, Rajesh BV, a district surveillance officer said by phone.

With panic setting in, several families in Kozhikode district have evacuated their homes in the last four days, some Indian media reports said.

Nipah virus is an emerging infectious disease that first broke out in a Malaysian village in 1999 and was also named after the same village. "In recent years, humans are animals are coming in contact with each other which is also causing outbreak of diseases such as Nipah", he added. The natural host of the virus are fruit bats of the Pteropodidae family, Pteropus genus.

Human-to-human transmission of the virus has been recorded in previous outbreaks in India that killed as many as 50 people.

There is now no vaccine or drug available for humans or animals and the main treatment is intensive support care for those who are suffering from respiratory and neurologic problems.

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