Doctors and patients wear safety masks as a precautionary measure after the Nipah virus outbreak, at a Medical college in Kozhikode. Photograph:( PTI )
The Indian government has issued a list of dos and don'ts to ward off the deadly Nipah virus which is so far limited to the state of Kerala, where it has claimed 12 lives
India's health ministry has issued a list of dos and don'ts to ward off the deadly Nipah virus which is so far limited to the state of Kerala, where it has claimed 12 lives. Here's what the advisory states:
What is Nipah
Nipah is a virus that commonly affects animals like bat, pigs, dogs, horses etc. The virus can spread from animals to humans and can sometimes cause serious illness among humans.
How does it spread
Spread of Nipah virus to humans may occur after close contact with other Nipah infected people, infected bats, or infected pigs. Bat secretions laden with virus can infect people during tree climbing, eating/handling contaminated fallen fruits or consuming raw date palm sap/juice or toddy.
Human to human infection can occur from close contact with persons affected with Nipah at home while providing care or close contact and in hospital setting if appropriate personal protective personal equipments are not used.
Handling of dead bodies, suspected of death due to Nipah virus should be done in accordance with the government advisory. During this emotional moment, traditional rituals and practices may need to be modified to prevent the exposure of family members to the disease.
Who are at high risk of developing Nipah virus infection?
People who are exposed to areas inhabited by fruit bats/articles contaminated by secretions such as unused wells, caves, fruit orchards are likely to be at higher risk of infection
Persons with direct contact with sick pigs or their contaminated tissues
Persons in close contact with a Nipah virus affected deceased during burial or cremation rituals
Health care workers having direct contact with probable or confirmed cases without using standard precautionary measures