Kerala affected by outbreak of ‘Nipah’ virus, 11 deaths have been reported recently. According to the World Health Organisation, Nipah virus or NiV infections is a newly emerging zoonosis that causes severe disease in both animal and humans. Nipah virus infection can be prevented by avoiding exposure to sick pigs and bats in endemic areas and not drinking raw date palm sap and not consuming fruits that have fallen from trees. There is no vaccine for either humans or animals. The primary treatment for human cases is intensive supportive care.
This is the first time the virus, which has high fatality rate and spreads mainly through bats, pigs and other animals, has been detected in the state. Symptoms range from high fever, headache, drowsiness, disorientation, mental confusion and coma.