Hyderabad to ensure hospitals well equipped to deal with Nipah virus

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Fruit bats are considered the natural host of the Nipah virus and health workers said they found dead bats in at a well at the home of an affected family.

The public health team constituted by Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW) has given guidelines to the hospitals for proper risk assessment and management of the Nipah Virus infection.

"He was on ventilator support for a week and died today morning", a Kerala health official said. On May 20, Kerala health minister's office got in touch with a team of scientists in the U.S. to see if drug repositioning is possible to treat Nipah virus.

The death toll from the latest outbreak in Kerala rose to 12 on Thursday, following the death of a 61-year-old man who had already lost three members of his family, including his two sons, to the virus. Their two children, aged five and two, will be given Rs 10 lakh each from the chief minister's relief fund, a government press release said.

According to local officials, these bats come every year and they die as well, but this year their numbers were comparatively high.

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Officers of the Health Department, Animal Husbandry Department and Forest Department arrived at the Burma Papadi School, following a directive from the Deputy Commissioner, and took samples from the dead bats for further investigation.

Nipah can be spread by fruit bats, pigs and through human-to-human contact. The virus, which is released through bats' saliva, urine and excreta, typically spreads due to bats consuming fruits on trees.

"I think I am nearly on my way", Lini Puthusheri wrote to her husband in a mix of English and Malayalam, the main language in Kerala, a southern state in India. NiV was first identified during an outbreak of disease in Kampung Sungai Nipah, Malaysia, in 1998.

Can the Nipah virus spread from one person to another? Symptoms can vary from acute respiratory infection to fatal encephalitis.

Most of the deaths reported are from Kozhikode and Malappuram districts from where 11 deaths have now been reported and 18 are undergoing treatment in various hospitals, including one in Wayanad. The primary treatment is intensive supportive care. The World Health Organization (WHO) describes Nipah infection as a "newly emerging zoonosis that causes severe disease in both animals and humans".

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