Govt calls the public to remain alert to the Nipah virus infection

A Nipah virus particle
A Nipah virus particle. Photo: Flickr

Kathmandu, September 13

The Ministry of Health and Population has urged the public to remain alert to the possible risk of Nipah Virus (NIV) infection after its outbreak was reported in neighbouring India.

The Ministry Spokesperson Dr Krishna Prasad Poudel in a press statement today said the risk of the virus outbreak and spread in Nepal could not be ruled out as Nepal and India share the open border.

The infection of the deadly NIV, which is transmitted to humans from animals and then from humans to humans, causing a serious illness, has now been detected in the Kerala state of India.

According to him, though the virus has so far been not detected in the country, the risk remains large.

A fruit bat is the natural host of the virus and it is transmitted to pigs, cattle and then to humans. Nipah virus infection can also be transmitted through contaminated food or directly from person to person, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

As the WHO says there is no treatment or vaccine available for either people or animals, the primary treatment for humans is supportive care.

Fever, dizziness, headache, muscle pain, nausea, breathing complication and tonsillitis are the symptoms of NIV infection and its infection rate is relatively high.

As the Ministry said, the fatality rate of NIV is 45 to 75 per cent. The WHO recognises NIV-caused illness as one of 10 deadly diseases in the world.

Properly cleaning fruits before consuming, eating only well-cooked vegetables, keeping cowsheds and farms clean, use of gloves and masks during animal slaughtering and cooking meat, drinking boiled water, washing hands with soap and water time and again and using of mask in public are recommended as preventive measures against the virus.

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