After the death of a young boy in contact with 188 people, the health authorities fear a “potential epidemic” and try to contain it.
Towards a “potential” new epidemic… The Nipah virus is of serious concern to health authorities in India who are trying to contain the virus in the region where it manifested itself, namely in Kerala, in the south of the country. The province was placed on alert.
So far, he’s only killed one known victim, but caution is in order. Indeed, from a mortality rate over 70%, this virus is according to the World Health Organization (WHO) an emerging infectious agent likely to trigger severe epidemics in the future if it were to evolve to gain in transmissibility.
This has led the WHO to make it a research priority with the aim of preventing health crises, as the Institut Pasteur reports.
Containing the epidemic in the province of Kerala
Moreover, the Minister of Health of the State of Kerala, Veena George explained that “for the moment, there is no reason to panic. But we must be cautious”, as reported by India Today .
“We decided to form teams to manage the situation. Contact tracing and other measures have already been initiated. NOTe have assigned special agents.“
Nipah virus has been detected in the Kozhikode district of Kerala.
Central Government has rushed a team to Kerala to support the State in public health measures and provide technical support.https: //t.co/DAetTt3yL6
– Mansukh Mandaviya (@mansukhmandviya) September 5, 2021
One deceased child and two other confirmed cases
On September 3, a 12-year-old boy presented symptoms of encephalitis (infection of the brain) and myocarditis. He is hospitalized. Very quickly, the doctors suspected an infection with the Nipah virus. His condition deteriorated very quickly and the child died 48 hours after admission, September 5. The sample taken from the child came back positive to the Nipah virus, after its analysis by the National Institute of Virology, as reported by CBS.
Two other people, dthem health workers, have been identified with symptoms of Nipah virus infection, as clarified by the Indian government. They would be part of the 20 high-risk contact cases of the deceased boy. He would have entered contact with a total of 188 people.
A virus that is transmitted through animals
The Nipah virus is a virus that spreads from animals to humans and more precisely by the salive of the fruit bat, a fruit bat. Subsequently, it mainly affects pigs, dogs, but also horses … up to humans.
Between humans, the virus is spread from person to person through secretions from infected people, but the virus is not currently very contagious between humans. However if infected, the virus can lead to death. This is what happened to the 12-year-old boy.
There may be an infection resulting in no symptoms, but otherwise it is fever, cough, migraine, vomiting and breathing problems. between 4 and 14 days later to have been exposed.
With acute breathing difficulties or even encephalitis, the infection is fatal. With a mortality rate of over 70%
Outbreaks of infections already observed
At the beginning, the virus was identified in 1998, in Malaysia with pigs as intermediate hosts: many farms were slaughtered to stem the epidemic at the time. More than 300 people have been infected and more than a hundred have died.
Previous outbreaks have shown that it can spread fairly quickly in humans, as Forbes points out. In Bangladesh, cases are seen every year. And in 2019, in Kerala, 17 people had died as specified by the WHO.
Given the biohazard that it represents, the Nipah virus can only be manipulated in a P4 laboratory.
No treatment or vaccine exists to date.
Patients must be isolated to avoid physical contact, but then other than prevention and keeping food away from bats, researchers have yet to find a cure.