Deadly Virus Carried by Bats Hits India, Raising Fears It Will Spread

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Nipah virus has so far claimed 11 lives in Kozhikode and Malappuram districts in north Kerala, while nine persons are undergoing treatment in Kozhikode.

Also called as NiV, the Nipah virus infection is spread mainly by fruit bats and can affect both humans as well as domestic animals including dogs, cats, goats, horses, and sheep. For Nipah virus computational drug repositioning, they would be using gene expression data from a published report that used endothelial cells treated with NiV that is reported by scientists in Malaysia and France and perform "computational drug repositioning" to find potential drugs that could be useful against NiV. "Also, 95 families are under surveillance", health ministry official said. What exactly is Nipah virus and where does it come from? Their two children, aged five and two, will be given Rs 10 lakh each from the chief minister's relief fund, a government press release said. Due to the migratory habit of the locally abundant fruit bats in South Asia, Nipah outbreaks occur more in this region.

It is noted that Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare J.P Nadda taking cognizance of the issue, and also directed to constitute a team of six doctors to investigate the outbreak of the rare and deadly virus.

The virus that is usually carried by flying foxes - a kind of bat - or pigs and can be spread between humans through close contact with people's secretions and excretions. The natural host of the virus is fruit bats of the Pteropodidae family, Pteropus genus.

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"One of the key triggers is human encroachment into breeding areas of bats", says Dr Mahesh Kumar, Consultant Internal Medicine, Narayana Hospital. "We have directed the CDHOs to remain observant regarding Nipah virus (outbreak) which is so far limited only to two districts of Kerala", Dahiya said.

"I think I am nearly on my way", Lini Puthusheri wrote to her husband in a mix of English and Malayalam, the main language in Kerala, a southern state in India.

The virus, which can be transmitted from animals to humans, is hard to diagnose and the symptoms include fever, vomiting and headaches.

The central team will make a guideline on the kind of treatment to be given to the patients affected with the disease. The main treatment for those infected is "intensive supportive care", according to the United Nations health body.