Nipah virus: Health dept on high alert in DK

Nipah virus: Health dept on high alert in DK

The Health Department in Dakshina Kannada is on high alert following the detection of Nipah Virus in Kozhikode and surrounding areas in Kerala that claimed a few lives in the last few days.

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, DHO Dr Ramakrishna Rao said there will be increased surveillance at the border areas in Dakshina Kannada including Eshwaramangala, Jalsoor and other areas. All the hospitals have been asked to report on patients suffering from symptoms of the Nipah and treat them in isolation.

Health workers, Asha workers, Forest Department and Department of Animal Husbandry have been sensitised about Nipah virus.

The PHCs and hospitals have been asked to identify anyone with symptoms of Nipah.

The disease spreads by coming in direct contact with infected patients. It takes three to 18 days for the infection to take the form of disease in the infected person. Anyone who has travelled to the affected areas should be vigilant over symptoms of high-fever and flu-like symptoms.

Dr Rao said there is no specific treatment for Nipah virus. Supportive care is the general treatment for the disease.

‘Don’t panic’

A rapid action team has been formed at the district-level. Once the Nipah virus is confirmed, then the doctors and nurses treating the patients should take preventive measures. He also appealed to the patients not to panic over common fever and headache.

The DHO said Nipah is a zoonotic disease spread by fruit bats and is named after a Malaysian village Sungai Nipahl where the encephalitis, caused by viral infection, was first reported among pig farmers way back in 1999.

Since the disease could spread through handling pigs, Animal Husbandry and Forest Department officials too have been asked to be alert. If any pig is found to be suffering from infection, then such pig should be isolated from its herd in the piggery, he said.

Fruit bats are also a source of the infection, so it is better to wash the fruits before eating.

‘Hygiene needed’

Maintain the routine of hand-washing and do not eat raw fruits or vegetables without washing thoroughly.

There is no problem with boiled or cooked food. Boil the water before drinking, he added.

The DHO said that the Department of Health and Family Welfare will circulate a message to all the hostels, to keep a watch on students who have recently come from Kerala for any symptoms of the disease. District Surveillance Officer Dr Rajesh called upon the people to avoid drinking toddy or Neera from suspected areas.