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Sanjeev Kumar Patro

News Highlights

  • The fatality rate in viral disease is very high. India had reported a total of 21 cases to date. And the total number of deaths stood at 18. The year 2018 had recorded a total of 17 deaths, as per WHO data.
  • Though vaccines against Covid-19 have been out in the market, there is no vaccine at present to treat the Nipah virus.
  • So, Covid Appropriate Behaviour (CAB) - Masking, Hand sanitising and avoiding crowd - will help in keeping the virus at bay.

With the country recording the first Nipah virus death after a gap of 3-years, the moot poser is does Odisha have a Nipah threat, even as the fatality has been recorded in down south Kerala?

Prior to the Nipah death registered yesterday, the country had witnessed three outbreaks of the viral disease. The first outbreak in the country was recorded in the year 2001 in West Bengal. The outbreak re-surfaced again in 2007, and the place had also been West Bengal.

After a long gap of over a decade, the Nipah outbreak was recorded in Kerala in 2018. The outbreak districts had been Kozhikode and Malappuram. Idukki-Ernakulam reported a single case in 2019, though a total of 314 contacts were identified per day.

Threat To Odisha?

In 2001, the outbreak happened in Siliguri (Darjeeling-Jaipalguri districts). And Nadia became the hotspot in 2007. Both the hotspots didn't share any proximity with Odisha. Moreover, due to successful containment strategy by both Centre and State governments had then prevented the outbreak from spilling on to Odisha border.

Since the first outbreak had taken place in West Bengal, and given that the viral disease had the potential to re-surface, the threat exists for Odisha. However, the assuring fact is no reports of re-surfacing noticed in West Bengal to date.

Fatality Rate In India

The fatality rate in viral disease is very high. India had reported a total of 21 cases to date. And the total number of deaths stood at 18. The year 2018 had recorded a total of 17 deaths, as per WHO data.

"The case fatality rate of the viral disease world over had been 40-75 per cent," informed a WHO bulletin.

Though vaccines against Covid-19 have been out in the market, there is no vaccine at present to treat the Nipah virus.

Human-To-Human Transmission Possible?

This is what the world's apex health body has to say.

"During the outbreaks in Bangladesh and India, direct human-to-human transmission of the virus through close contact with people's secretions and excretions clinically established. In Siliguri (2001), the transmission of the virus was also reported within a healthcare setting, where 75 percent of cases occurred among hospital staff or visitors. From 2001 to 2008, around half of reported cases in Bangladesh were due to human-to-human transmission through providing care to infected patients."

So, Covid Appropriate Behaviour (CAB) - Masking, Hand sanitising and avoiding crowd - will help in keeping the virus at bay.

Watch Out The Symptoms

Like Covid-19, in Nipah too, human infections range from asymptomatic to acute respiratory infection (mild, severe), except fatal encephalitis.

The Initial Signs ---

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Myalgia (muscle pain)
  • Sore Throat
  • Vomiting

Secondary Stage Signs ---

  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Altered Consciousness

Acute Stage Signs ----

  • Neurological signs of acute encephalitis
  • Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome
  • Seizures

After the manifestation of these signs, within 24-48 hrs, the patient will proceed to the coma stage.

Diagnosis And Treatment

Like Covid-19, the virus is detected via RT-PCR test. Post surveillance is done via seroprevalence study.

A monoclonal antibody cocktail was imported from Australia to treat the cases in the 2018 outbreak.

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