The Nepal government on Monday issued an alert against the possible spread of Nipah virus from neighbouring India, according to PTI. Nepal’s Health Ministry has urged the general public to remain alert to the possible risk of Nipah. 

Nepal Health Ministry spokesperson Dr Krishna Prasad Poudel said that the risk of the virus outbreak and spread in Nepal could not be ruled out as Nepal and India share open borders.

“The infection of the deadly NIV, which is transmitted to humans from animals and then human- to human, causing a serious illness, has now been detected in the Kerala State of India,” the ministry spokesperson was quoted as saying.

Early this month, a 12-year-old boy in Kerala died of Nipah infection. 

Poudel said that though the virus has so far been not detected in the country, the risk remains large.  He said the fruit bat is the natural host of the virus and it is transmitted to pigs, cattle and then to humans.

Nipah Virus infection is a zoonotic illness that is transmitted to people from animals and can also be transmitted through contaminated food or directly from person to person, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

As per WHO, there is no treatment or vaccine available for either people or animals. The primary treatment for humans is supportive care. “It can be passed on to humans from contaminated food and directly from human-to-human,” the ministry said.

Fever, dizziness, headache, muscle pain, nausea, breathing complication and tonsillitis are the symptoms of NIV infection and its infection rate is relatively high.

Properly cleaning fruits before consuming, eating only well-cooked vegetables, keeping cowsheds and farms clean, use of gloves and masks during animal slaughtering and cooking meat, drinking boiled water, washing hands with soap and water time and again and using of mask in public are recommended as preventive measures against the virus.

According to the Ministry said, the fatality rate of NIV is 45 to 75 per cent. The WHO recognises NIV-caused illness as one of 10 deadly diseases in the world.

Today, Kerala Health Minister Veena George informed that 17 more people have tested negative for Nipah virus. Of these, 5 persons were tested at NIV Pune and the rest in a specially set up lab at Kozhikode Medical College. “Samples of a total of 140 people have been found negative,” George said.

(With inputs from PTI)

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