Beware! Nipah virus has made a comeback in Kerala

Nipah virus is a highly contagious Zoonotic pathogen which belongs to the Paramyxoviridae family of viruses. It was first identified in Malaysia in 1998-99 during an outbreak of severe encephalitis among pig farmers. The virus is primarily transmitted from fruit bats to humans through intermediate hosts like pig or other animals. Nipah virus infection can lead to a range of symptoms, including fever, respiratory issues, encephalitis, seizures, coma and also death.

I have read in a news-report that this highly contagious virus has a mortality rate of over 70%. This virus poses a significant public health threat due to its high mortality rate and absence of specific anti-viral treatment or vaccines. Strict surveillance, control measures, and public awareness campaigns are crucial in preventing and managing Nipah virus outbreaks.

Earlier, there had been outbreaks of Nipah virus at least thrice in Kerala. In 2018, the outbreak in Kerala claimed twenty-one lives. It is noted with concern that that this highly dangerous virus has again made a comeback in some villages of Kerala. Till now, six persons have been identified with this deadly virus in the state.

I hope the State Government of Kerala will take proper containment measures in close coordination with the Central Government. The National Institute of Virology and the Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology have already sent mobile testing vans to Kozhikode.

Needless to say, the people of Kerala must remain extremely cautious.

[Competition entry: September 2023 Topic-based contest]