Do not panic over Nipah virus – Govt. advisory
Dimapur, May 27 (EMN): Nagaland’s department of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Services has advised citizens not to panic over the news of the outbreak of Nipah virus which has claimed several lives in Kerala.
An advisory from the department on Sunday asked people not to travel to the affected zones and to “avoid people coming from such places.” Be ‘aware and alert,’ it stated.
Other suggestions include: “To always maintain proper hygiene like washing hands especially after touching animals, before eating, proper washing of food items, etc.; maintain healthy habits and keep your immune system at its optimum because the outcome of any infection depends on an individual’s defence mechanism; and not to have an aversion towards bats. They are important to the ecological balance of our environment.”
According to the information given, the Nipah virus is a new or emerging disease that can affect humans as well as animals. “It was first recorded in Malaysia in 1998-99 which resulted in infection of 265 and death of 105 persons and 1.1 millions of pigs were destroyed. The virus is named after Nipah River village in Malaysia,” it informed.
Since then, in India, there were two outbreaks in 2001 and in 2007. In both, infection or transmissions through pigs were ruled out, the department informed.
“The fruit eating bats, also called flying fox, is said to be the natural host of this virus. It commonly affects animals such as pigs, dogs and horses, and can be spread to humans and cause serious illness and death among humans. Symptoms are not specific and include flu-like illness and hence can be confused with any respiratory illness.
“However, in the recent outbreak in Kerala, livestock and bats were not involved and as we leave it upon (sic) the scientists to study and understand the disease further, we as a department is vigilant, updating the information daily through our Animal Disease Monitoring and Surveillance Cell,” it informed.
The department has also asked citizens to report promptly “any disease occurrences in animals” to the nearest veterinary facility.