After the death of a child with the Nipah virus, India prepares for a possible outbreak

In South India, the state of Kerala registered the death of a teenager, with years, due to infection caused by the rare and deadly Nipah virus (NiV). Now, health authorities in the region are organizing efforts to contain a possible outbreak of the infectious agent. In parallel, the state registers the largest number of new daily cases of covid-19 from all over the country.

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  • The death was registered last Sunday ( ) and, since then, the state has been on high alert against possible Suspected cases of the Nipah virus. The tracking of hundreds of contacts close to the child and their isolation was even started.

    Rare and deadly virus is responsible for the death of young people in India (Image: Reproduction/Rigel/Unsplash)

    Get to know the Nipah virus

    First identified during a late-years outbreak 75 in Malaysia, the Nipah virus can be transmitted by fruit-eating bats and by pigs. Transmission can also occur through consumption of contaminated food or through direct contact between humans. In the Indian state of Kerala, the first case was confirmed in 1990, when 12 people died.

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    Currently, there is no vaccine or specific antiviral treatments against this virus. Thus, medical care is focused on the symptoms of the infection. Infected patients may report prolonged fevers, seizures and vomiting.

    In addition, this infectious agent has a high mortality rate, which is estimated to be between 20% and 75%, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). As such, it is much more deadly than the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, considered to have a rate of less than 2%.

    Research of possible cases of infection in India

    This Tuesday (12), the Indian state health minister announced that samples from eight of the boy’s primary contacts were negative for Nipah infection. “The negative test of these eight close contacts is a great relief,” said Governor Veena George.

    It has also been announced that more samples will be tested, adding up 48 closest contacts to the case. Now, authorities must maintain vigilance and investigate the patient’s secondary contacts. In parallel, the state was instructed to strengthen the health infrastructure in case of more records or possible alerts in neighboring districts.

    Currently, the state is responsible for the largest number of daily cases in the covid-19 throughout India. On Monday (19), Kerala almost registered 31 thousand new infections out of a total of 20.222 all over the country.

    Source: NPR

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