Kozhikode: A 12-year-old boy, who was undergoing treatment at a private hospital here, succumbed to the dreaded Nipah virus around 5 am on Sunday, state health minister Veena George confirmed.
“Unfortunately, the boy passed away at 5 this morning. The condition of the child was critical last night. We have formed various teams and started the tracing. Steps have been taken to isolate the primary contact of the boy,” the minister told the media.
According to reports, the boy had recently recovered from COVID. He was admitted to the hospital on September 1 with brain fever and severe vomiting, hinting at the possibility of Nipah.
The National Institute of Virology in Pune later confirmed that the sample from Kerala had tested positive for the virus.
The first Nipah virus disease outbreak was reported in Kozhikode district of Kerala on May 19, 2018, which saw 18 confirmed cases and 17 deaths.
What is Nipah?
Nipah virus or NiV, is a disease that was first observed in 1998 in pigs in Malaysia. It is known to cause severe illness in both humans and animals such as pigs, dogs, cats, goats, horses and sheep. It is transmitted from animals to humans and can also be transmitted through contaminated food or directly between people. It can spread through faeces and excretions of infected pigs, fruit bats, or by consuming fruit infected by the infected animals or even infected people.
Symptoms of Nipah
WHO lists fever, headache, drowsiness, disorientation, mental confusion, and some, coma as the symptoms of Nipah. It is recommended that the patient must be isolated to prevent the spreading of infection to others.
1. Hygiene is the most important step. It is essential to wash your hands and face thoroughly and cover your mouth if you are visiting an infected area.
2. Fruit bats are one of the main sources of this virus. They tend to drop half-eaten fruits which if consumed by other animals or humans can lead to infection.
3. Avoid date palm sap and pork.
4. Avoid fruits in the infected zones.
Vaccine of Nipah
There are no vaccines for Nipah right now, but WHO states that one is being developed.