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Nipah scare: No need to panic; adopt good hygiene practices

New Delhi, May 26: Simple good hygiene practices such as frequent hand washing and cooking food properly before consuming can help you avoid contracting the brain-damaging Nipah virus which has claimed 12 lives in Kerala till now and led to quarantining of at least 40 others, health experts suggest.

The Nipah virus is a zoonotic disease that is naturally transmitted from vertebrate animals to humans, while human-to-human transmission has also been documented. Historically, the virus had largely remained in a cluster, meaning it was mostly confined to an area, and affected those that came in close contact to the patients, the experts said.
The latest outbreak in India has so far affected mainly four districts of Kerala — Kozhikode, and its neigbouring districts of Malappuram, Kannur and Wayanad. People in other states do not have much to worry, unless they need to travel to the affected areas, or come in contact with someone who has contracted the virus.

Nipah virus can be transmitted by infected pigs, or by fruit bats, through their secretions of saliva, urine or faeces.The other mode of transmission is human to human, through body secretions and respiratory secretions. Contracting Nipah causes an upper respiratory infection, leading to fever, body ache, breathlessness and cough.
“There is no need to panic, but if you have symptoms similar to this or if you have visited the state recently, visit a doctor at the earliest,” Suranjit Chatterjee, Senior Consultant – Internal Medicine at the Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, New Delhi, told IANS. Depending upon the exposure to the virus, it can also proceed to further complication like Encephalitis — inflammation of the brain. This can result in mental confusions and deteriorate to coma. (IANS)

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Ankur Kalita