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Minimal chance of Nipah virus spreading to Sri Lanka from India: Health Ministry

In a statement issued by the health ministry's epidemiology unit, which is the nodal wing for such diseases, the department said that Sri Lanka faces a low risk with regard to the Nipah outbreak from Kerala and strict measures are being taken against the disease.
Last Updated : 30 September 2023, 13:15 IST

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The threat of the Nipah virus spreading to Sri Lanka from India remains minimal, the island nation's health ministry said on Saturday amidst the rising fear about the contagious disease among the citizens.

In a statement issued by the health ministry's epidemiology unit, which is the nodal wing for such diseases, the department said that Sri Lanka faces a low risk with regard to the Nipah outbreak from the Indian state of Kerala and strict measures are being taken against the disease.

“Sri Lanka faces a low risk with regard to the Nipah virus outbreak reported in neighbouring India,' said the statement.

The latest outbreak in Kerala's Kozhikode district emerged in late August 2023 and up to now, only 6 people have been infected of which 2 have died.

Over 700 people who were suspected to be potential contacts of the infected patients have been quarantined and tested for the infection, with no positive reports as of September 22.

Citing the preventive measures taken by the Kerala authorities, the epidemiology unit said that this was the fourth Nipah outbreak to hit Kerala in the past 5 years.

Each time, the disease had been well controlled and timely precautionary measures had been taken to ensure that there was no spread beyond the area of origin of the outbreak.

Nipah is a zoonotic virus, transmitted predominantly from fruit bats and through food which has been contaminated by body fluids or secretions of infected animals, including directly from human to human via prolonged close contact.

In infected people, it can cause a range of illnesses from asymptomatic infection to acute respiratory illness and fatal encephalitis.

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Published 30 September 2023, 13:15 IST

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