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High alert after a resurgence of the potentially deadly Nipah virus (NiV)

K K Shailaja, a former minister of health and a senior member of the ruling CPI(M) legislature, reassures Kerala that the Nipah epidemic is not as concerning as it was in 2018 since the state has mechanisms in place to successfully contain the infection.
Nipah in Kerala: India is on high alert following a recent return of the potentially fatal Nipah virus (NiV), which has claimed the lives of at least two people. The virus strain observed in the state was the Bangladesh form, which is less contagious yet travels from person to person and has a high fatality rate.

Currently, K K Shailaja, a former minister of health and a senior member of the ruling CPI(M) legislature, has provided an update and stated that the state need not be concerned about the Nipah outbreak in Kozhikode as things are not as dire as they were in 2018.

Shailaja received praise in 2018 for successfully limiting the Nipah outbreak. She claimed that in order to properly combat the sickness and stop its spread, the southern state has a methodology and Standard Operating Procedure (SOP). Shaiaja served as the state’s first Nipah outbreak’s health minister under the previous LDF administration.

“In 2018, it was a brand-new virus to us, and we had no prior experience fighting an infection of this kind. We now have everything in place to properly contain it, Shailaja told reporters, according to PTI.

Although Nipah testing facilities have been set up in the state, the National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune, is the only institution authorized to declare a virus infection, according to her. “The facility is here. During the opening fight of 2018 in Kozhikode, we tested it out. However, NIV, Pune alone has the authority to declare,” the senior CPI(M) MLA remarked.

She claimed that the state administration had obtained special clearance from the federal government to announce COVID results from the virology lab in Alappuzha during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The former health minister was quoted by PTI as saying that the central team traveled to Alappuzha, conducted the test themselves, and gave Kerala permission to disseminate the results.

“We received approval to conduct the testing at the Medical College labs and to publish the results when COVID spread reached its height. We can only share the Nipah results if we have special clearance from the Central Government, Shailaja continued.

What are the signs of the Nipah Virus?

The Nipah virus, which is brought on by fruit bats and can be devastating to both humans and animals, is caused by the WHO. In 1999, a sickness outbreak among pig farmers and other people who had frequent contact with the animals occurred in Malaysia and Singapore. This is when the Nipah virus was first discovered. This virus can also spread from infected individuals to humans through close physical contact, particularly through contact with bodily fluids. It has also been established that bat pee or saliva-contaminated raw date palm sap can transmit the disease when consumed.

Speaking of the virus’s symptoms, they include coughing, nausea, dizziness, headaches, fever, and respiratory ailments.

Kerala’s schools were shuttered

Kerala closed certain schools, offices, and public transportation on Wednesday in an effort to curb the spread of the dangerous and rare Nipah virus, which has already claimed the lives of two individuals. On Wednesday night, the state administration announced that 153 healthcare professionals were among the at least 706 individuals receiving testing to stop the virus’s spread. Kozhikode was the site of the outbreak this time, but minister Veena George claimed that research by the WHO and ICMR indicate that similar diseases can spread throughout Kerala. Tamil Nadu, a neighboring state, has also declared that visitors arriving from Kerala will be subjected to medical examinations and that anyone exhibiting flu-like symptoms will be quarantined.