It is probable that Nipah virus infection and fatalities are occurring elsewhere undetected while being identified in Kerala, particularly in the Kozhikode area, given that fruit bats in other States have tested positive for Nipah virus antibodies. After Kerala formally confirmed the first outbreak in the Kozhikode district in May 2018, there have been three more; the most recent one happened in late August 2023. The Kozhikode district has seen three of Kerala’s four Nipah outbreaks—those in 2018, 2021, and 2023—while the 2019 epidemic, for as-yet-unknown causes, took place in the Ernakulam region.
Kerala Nipah Virus Outbreak
Since 2018, the Nipah virus has been responsible for four disastrous outbreaks of the Kerala Nipah Virus in a state in southern India. Authorities became aware of the epidemic after two fatalities attributed to the infection. Mangalatt Haris, age 40, died on September 11 in the city of Ayanchery, while Mohammed Ali, age 49, died on August 30 in the village of Maruthonkara. The results of the tests on September 13 showed that both guys had died from Nipah. Normal nose swabs were used by the authorities to check for the virus.
A combination of flu-like and neurological symptoms, such as headache, fever, coughing up blood, acute respiratory distress, and convulsions, prompted them to perform a viral test. However, there was no proof of human-to-human transmission during the Malaysian Kerala Nipah Virus Outbreak, according to Dr. Thekkumkar Surendran Anish, associate professor for community medicine at the Government Medical College in Manjeri, Kerala, who is in charge of the state’s surveillance team and who spoke with NPR about the subject.
Nipah Virus symptoms
In severe cases, seizures and brain inflammation that results in a coma can happen, although the most frequent symptoms are a high body temperature, vomiting, and a respiratory infection.
There is no vaccine available for Nipah. Depending on how the illness is handled by the public health system, patient death rates can range from 40 to 75 percent, according to the WHO.
How to prevent the Nipah virus?
- There are no vaccinations for the Nipah virus. Based on prior outbreaks, regular, intensive cleaning and disinfection of pig farms using the right detergents may prevent infection.
- If an animal outbreak is found, the area should be quarantined. The World Health Organization advises “culling of infected animals with close supervision of burial or incineration of carcasses” to reduce the probability of transmission to humans.
- The only way to reduce or prevent infections between people without NiV-specific immunizations is to raise awareness of risk factors and teach proper precautions, along with routine disease safety measures.
- Fruits should be washed and peeled before eating to decrease the chance of fruit bats with the disease spreading around the world. Fruit that has been eaten by bats should be thrown away.
What happened during previous Nipah outbreaks?
- Over one hundred individuals perished in Malaysia’s first Nipah pandemic, which also necessitated the killing of one million pigs.
- It spread to Singapore, where 11 illnesses and one death occurred among abattoir workers who had contact with Malaysian pigs.
- The majority of cases of the disease have been documented after 2001 in Bangladesh and India.
- Since 2001, Nipah has claimed the lives of approximately 100 people in Bangladesh.
- Before being contained, two early Indian diseases claimed the lives of more than 50 people.
- Since last month, Kerala has had two Nipah fatalities and four cases.
- Schools were closed, and there were extensive testings.
- Fourth Nipah outbreak in Kerala in the last five years. The virus first arose in 2018, and 17 people were murdered by it.
Who response to the Nipah virus
- In accordance with the International Health Regulations (IHR 2005), WHO was required to receive notification on May 23 and publish a Disease Outbreak News on May31.
- WHO provided technical resources and support for the Nipah virus disease to the Ministry of Health and Kerala State health authorities.
- In order to increase IHR (2005) capability and indicator- and event-based monitoring for diseases that are prone to epidemics, WHO collaborates with the Ministry of Health.
- WHO and ICMR are working together to further the Nipah R&D plan’s research objective. To enhance the health system, WHO will keep working with the Ministry of Health.
Two Tricks are the Key to Nipah’s Persistence
Bangladesh has suffered 20 years of terrifying, almost annual epidemics that have killed over 200 people. Nipah remains untreated No vaccination. This virus remains on the WHO’s pandemic list. Because of its two primary tricks.
- First, it might change species. Gurley continues, “We’ve proven Nipah can be acquired and present in Bangladesh in cattle, goats, pigs, cats, and dogs. Unsure of how. She proposes fruit juice or sap. Pigs and other carnivores may consume placentas or bat carcasses. “We’re starting a new study to figure this out,” Gurley continues.
- Nipah spreads, which is the second deception. Nipah hasn’t done well at that since the virus kills its host. Bangladesh has experienced outbreaks almost every year, with larger ones occurring every four to five years, although they have all subsided rapidly. Every time Nipah switches from a bat to a human, it has a new chance to develop the necessary mutations that will make it more contagious and lead to a pandemic.