One of the states in southeastern India is taking steps to curb the spread of the Nipah Virus after two people died from this rare and often fatal disease, resulting in the closure of schools and the testing of hundreds of people to prevent its spread.
Pinarayi Vijayan, the Chief Minister of Kerala, stated that the virus has been detected in the Kozhikode district of the state. He urged residents to be cautious and follow the guidelines provided by the health department.
According to his statement on Wednesday, two people have died from the virus, marking the fourth outbreak in the state since 2018. Vijayan wrote on his social media post, “We should not be afraid but rather face this situation with caution.”
Nipah is a zoonotic virus that can be transmitted from animals to humans, as per the World Health Organization (WHO). However, it can also spread through contaminated food or directly between people.
Symptoms typically start with a headache and drowsiness but can quickly progress to a coma within a few days, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It can lead to acute respiratory syndrome, where the lungs cannot get enough oxygen to the body, and fatal encephalitis, which is inflammation of the brain. There is no vaccine for Nipah, and treatment is limited to supportive care.
In Kerala, more than 700 people have been identified as close contacts and are currently being tested for the virus, as reported by Veena George, the state’s health minister, during a press conference on Wednesday. Among them, 77 are considered “high risk,” and they have been instructed to stay at home and monitor their health.
We still can’t forget the past COVID-19 pandemic where they almost have similar symptoms which claimed millions of lives worldwide and continues to pose threats through various variants. That’s why we hope not to reach such a situation again, and India is doing everything it can to control the said virus early.
Authorities in Kozhikode have closed some schools in the district, as stated by the district collector. Additionally, seven villages have been declared “containment zones,” according to Reuters.