GS Paper - 2 (Diseases)

The Union health ministry on 6 September 2021 recommended a five-pronged strategy to the Kerala government to tackle Nipah, based on the first report submitted by the central expert team to visit the state amid the outbreak.

What is the strategy?

  1. District authorities must identify primary and secondary contacts. All high-risk contacts may be moved to identified facility quarantine and observed for symptoms.
  2. A referral system to be established along with earmarked ambulances and trained staff.
  3. Adequate stock of Ribaverin (anti-viral) and personal protective equipment need to be maintained at the district level.
  4. The Centre also recommended that the state set up a control room for daily reporting of cases.
  5. Coordination with the animal health and wildlife department and other field officers may be initiated to trap and collect samples from fruit bats for virological studies and other associated measures.

Flashback

  1. Nipah virus infection is a zoonotic illness that causes severe disease in both animals and humans.
  2. It was first identified in 1998 during an outbreak in Malaysia. The death rate for Nipha virus is 70 percent.
  3. It is not likely to spread like Covid-19 as it is not an airborne infection. The virus can be transmitted from animals (bats or pigs), or contaminated foods, and from close contact with infected person's body fluids.
  4. Fever, respiratory symptoms including cough, sore throat, aches, fatigue and encephalitis are the symptoms of this virus.