Deadly Virus Carried by Bats Hits India, Raising Fears It Will Spread

The deadly virus has killed at least three people in southern India officials said Monday with medical teams dispatched to the area amid reports that up to six other people could have died from the disease and others are ill. (AP

Seven of these victims are from Kozhikode district, including the first three victims from a single family, and three from the neighbouring Malappuram district. "It (outbreak of Nipah virus) is a localised occurrence and there is no need to panic", the minister said.

Nipa Virus aka NiV was first identified in Malaysia in 1988.

Dr Brendan Payne, honorary consultant in Infectious Diseases and Virology at Newcastle University, confirmed there is no risk from contact with pigs or bats in the UK. Since 2004 to 2012 nearly every year this infection has been reported from Bangladesh.

He was given the note she had written by a relative after she died. But bigger cities aren't far away, and the NBC News report said that any virus is just a flight away from anywhere in the world.

India is already going through the triple burden of disease and aggravation of such re-emerging infections on a frequent basis will be water shed moment for development.

Where does the infection come from?

How does the infection spread? . The disease, which is believed to be transmitted by bats and other animals, has a mortality rate ranging from 40 to 70 percent.

- Nipah can be passed by fruit bats, pigs and through human-to-human contact.

Also, humans become infected with Nipah as a result of consuming food products contaminated by secretions of infected fruit bats. For instance, the 2004 outbreak in Bangladesh happened when the victims consumed raw date palm sap that had also been sipped by infected bats. It affected domestic animals before humans.

Can the Nipah virus spread from one person to another?

This comes even as the authorities said that the situation was under control.

Infection in humans can have various presentations.

He said: "This is a very serious condition and causes fevers with drowsiness and confusion".

There is no specific treatment to kill the virus.

At least 17 patients are under treatment, Shailaja added. Doctors may have to provide respiratory support to the patients and in case of emergencies shifted on the ventilator.

Still, Nipah remains a relatively rare tropical disease - like Ebola - which severely limits the incentive for drug companies to invest in vaccines or drugs.

There is now no vaccine or drug available for humans or animals and the main treatment is intensive support care for those who are suffering from respiratory and neurologic problems.

What precautions can be taken to combat the Nipah virus?

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