India's Nipah virus outbreak death toll rises to 16

Nipah Kozhikode Reuters

In a media statement released on Wednesday, the Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHaP) also said that it already alerted all points of entry authorities in the UAE to report and quarantine anyone suspected of having been infected by the Nipah virus, also known as NiV. "If all fruits were infected then everyone (and not just children or teenagers) would be affected by the virus".

The Nipah virus is an RNA virus that can cause a mild to severe disease in both humans and domestic animals.

West Bengal, on Tuesday, witnessed a third suspected Nipah virus (NiV) case. A federal investigation into this outbreak was launched quickly, and the country has the resources to contain it. The National Institute of High-Security Animal Diseases at Bhopal confirmed this after testing the samples. "All steps to prevent the spread of the virus have been taken", state Health Minister K.K. Shailaja said. The total number of suspected cases stands at nine. "All districts are instructed to enhance their surveillance for acute encephalitis through Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP) and to carefully review any unusual pattern", says the guidelines issued on May 23.

There is relief in Kerala that the infection did not spread into an outbreak and is now more or less under control.

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The fresh case is reported just a day after two other patients from Murshidabad, feared to be with the deadly infection, were kept in the isolation ward, official sources said.

Health department officials pointed out that there are circumstantial evidence of human-to-human transmission in India in 2001. This means you don't need to find giant fruit bats roosting where people were initially infected; they could have flown in from ten kilometers-six miles-away to eat some fruit or drink sap in that backyard the night someone was infected. Hundreds of bat biologists, millions of people who eat bats, and the millions more who share cities with huge bat colonies are no less healthy than others.

The good thing is the government of India has capacity to deal with Nipah.

According to the WHO report, 600 Nipah cases were reported in the world from 1998 to 2015. During the initial 1999 outbreak in Malaysia, more than 100 people died, according to the CDC.

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