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Nipah outbreak: one confirmed case, four under watch; Kerala sets up protocols to check spread



Nipah outbreak: one confirmed case, four under watch; Kerala sets up protocols to check spread

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]A 23-year-old male student has tested positive for Nipah virus, said Kerala Health Minister KK Shylaja today (Tuesday, June 4).

Four others, including two nurses, who have been in contact with the ‘index patient’ at the hospital, have fever and are being monitored. Though their condition is not said to be serious, one of them has been shifted to the isolation ward.

Over 80 people, among them 22 students, were put under surveillance on Monday, media reports said.

The deadly Nipah virus had claimed 17 lives in Kerala last year. According to the World Health Organisation, 18 Nipah cases were reported in Kerala last year; 17 of them died. The first death was reported on May 19, 2018. Since then, more than 2,600 contacts were identified and followed up with during the outbreak.

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said he is in touch with Kerala Health Minister KK Shylaja. “The Centre will send monoclonal antibody (medicines) to Kerala. Everything that needs to be done in a scientific manner has been initiated. Nothing to panic,” Harsh Vardhan said. He said the wildlife department has been told to catch bats to test presence of the virus.

The medicine, sourced from Australia after the Nipah outbreak last year, is available only with the National Institute of Virology. It was used as a preventive medicine for people who were exposed to the Hendra virus in Australia, which mainly infects large fruit bats (flying foxes) and can be passed on to livestock and people.

The source of the latest Nipah virus outbreak is not known, said KK Shylaja. “The test results have come from the National Institute of Virology, Pune, and it’s positive for Nipah. The health authorities have made elaborate arrangements… NIV authorities will be handing over the medicines that have come from Australia,” said Ms Shailaja, adding Harsh Vardhan has assured of full support.

“The condition of the youth is now stable and he is not on life support system. The situation is under control. As the government had addressed the Nipah outbreak in an effective manner last year, we are fully confident to meet any eventualities. People should cooperate with the general guidelines and precautionary measures issued by the health department,” Shylaja said.

The government said that it was according high priority to the team of doctors and nurses treating the index patient at the private hospital. Protective suits have been handed over to healthcare teams dealing with the crisis first-hand. Ambulances and rapid response teams have also been kept in the loop.

While commending the mainstream media for its role in making people aware of the dangers of Nipah, Shylaja cautioned those on social media platforms from spreading fake news. “The government will not spare anyone spreading unverifiable news on social media. Strong action will be taken,” she said.

Shylaja also advised the public to remain more vigilant in the current circumstances. People with fever and cough must avoid going to public gatherings and should get diagnosed immediately.

The 23-year-old patient, seen as the ‘index’ case of the virus, is a native of Paravur in Ernakulam district. He is a student of an institute near Thodupuzha and had attended a camp in Thrissur district. All those who were in contact with him during the period when he had fever are also being monitored by the health department.

Having gained the experience from battling the virus infection last year, the health minister said her department is fully equipped to deal with any kind of emergency. As precautionary measures, isolation wards have been ordered in three districts – Ernakulam, Thrissur and Kozhikode.

An expert team of doctors, including those who battled the virus last year in Kozhikode, are present in Kochi to monitor the situation. Ribovarin tablets, an antiviral medication used as part of supportive care, are in ample stock. Private hospitals and those on the periphery have been directed to send all suspected cases to Medical Colleges where the patients can be admitted to isolation wards.

A six-member expert team from various institutes under the Union Ministry has already arrived here for supervision. The Union government has given permission to use immunoglobulin-monoclonal antibody, if necessary. Steps have also been taken to procure more of these antibodies from Australia.

“There’s no need to panic or be scared. Since we have the experience of last year, we can take the virus head-on. We have a set of guidelines that we are adhering to. We advise everyone who has fever-like symptoms to get diagnosed immediately,” Shylaja said.

The control room under the District Collector will be coordinating all activities under the Nipah control programme, Shylaja said.


Earlier outbreaks

The Nipah virus, an emerging zoonotic disease, is transmitted from animals to humans and then spreads through people to people contact. It was first identified in 1998-99 among pig farmers in Malaysia and Singapore. More than 100 people died in that outbreak that year, and about a million pigs were killed to try to halt its spread.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) India reported two outbreaks of Nipah virus encephalitis in West Bengal, bordering Bangladesh, in 2001 and 2007. Seventy one cases with 50 deaths (70% of the cases) were reported in two outbreaks.

The first identification of Nipah virus as a cause of an outbreak of encephalitis was reported in 2001 in Meherpur district of Bangladesh. The WHO says Nipah virus (NiV) encephalitis is an emerging infectious disease of public health importance in the South-East Asia Region.


Nipah virus: fatality rate, symptoms, precautions

Fruit bats are considered to be the natural carriers of the virus. In Kerala, the virus was reported last year in patients in Kozhikode and Malappuram district and had led to 17 deaths. The virus has a high case fatality rate hovering between 40-75%.

It is associated with fatal encephalitis and respiratory illness. In initial stages, it causes fever, headache, muscle pain, dizziness and nausea. There is no known vaccine against the virus.

The virus spreads through the saliva of bats etc. is what research has found until now. In Bangladesh too, the virus outbreak happened after people consumed date palm sap eaten by bats carrying the virus.

In places where there are a lot of bats, one has to be extra careful to not eat fruits.

The incubation period for the virus ranges from 5 to 14 days. Symptoms become visible after this period and include fever, head ache, fainting and nausea.  In some cases, symptoms like choking, stomach pain, vomiting, fatigue and blurred vision could also be there.

The patient can possibly go into a coma just two days after the symptoms begin.

The chance of contracting encephalitis that affects the brain is also high.

Precautions include avoiding food that could have been contaminated by bats by biting it or dropping faeces on it.

Toddy that is brewed in open containers near palm trees should be avoided.

In case a person is infected, it is important to maintain a distance from the patient person and to sanitise and wash hands thoroughly.

Clothes, utensils and items typically used in the toilet or bathroom, like buckets and mugs, should be cleaned separately and maintained hygienically.

It’s important to cover one’s face while transporting the dead body of anyone who dies after contracting Nipah fever and should take utmost care while bathing the body before cremation or burial.


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Dust storm, light rain expected in Delhi-NCR today, heatwave conditions to abate

IMD claimed in a tweet that Thunderstorm dust with light to moderate intensity rain and gusty winds with speed of 30-50 km/hr would occur over and adjoining areas of many places of Delhi, North Delhi, North East Delhi, North west Delhi, West Delhi, Central Delhi, East delhi and NCR( Loni Dehat, Hindon AF station, Ghaziabad, Indrapuram, Chapraula) Sonipat, Rohtak, Kharkhoda (Haryana) Baraut, Bagpat, Meerut, Khekra, Modinagar, Kithor , Garhmukhteshwar, Pilakhua, Hapur ,Gulaoti ,Siyana ,Sikandrabad , Bulandshahr ,  Jahangirabad (UP)



Dust storm, light rain expected in Delhi-NCR today, heatwave conditions to abate

On Wednesday, a dust storm with light to moderate rain is expected in numerous locations in Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR). The India Meteorogical Department (IMD) stated the city’s maximum and minimum temperatures are predicted to be in the range of 40 and 25, respectively.

The IMD tweeted an advisory that thunderstorms, dust with light to moderate intensity rain and gusty winds with speed of 30-50 km/hr would occur over and adjoining areas of many places of Delhi, North Delhi, North East Delhi, North West Delhi, West Delhi, Central Delhi, East Delhi and NCR (Loni Dehat, Hindon AF station, Ghaziabad, Indirapuram, Chapraula) Sonipat, Rohtak, Kharkhoda (Haryana), Baraut, Bagpat, Meerut, Khekra, Modinagar, Kithor, Garhmukhteshwar, Pilakhua, Hapur, Gulaoti, Siyana, Sikandrabad, Bulandshahr, Jahangirabad (UP).

For the next two hours, light to moderate intermittent rain is expected over and near Adampur, Hissar, Hansi, and Meham (Haryana).

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On Thursday, May 18, light rain is predicted for in Delhi based on the seven-day prediction for the city. The sky will mainly be cloudy, with the potential of a light  rain or drizzle, according to the weather office.

The air quality will continue to be deteriorated in the city after strong winds with dust swept across the Delhi-NCR on Tuesday. Following this, visibility had reduced to 1000 metres. Kuldeep Srivastava, the head of regional forecasting centre, said the dry atmosphere is one of the reasons for the dust storms.

Following Tuesday’s severe winds and dust storm that blasted across the Delhi-NCR, the city’s air quality had taken an alarming dip.

The monsoons, which are awaited across India, are likely to make landfall in Kerala on June 4. Usually, the monsoon arrives on May 31 or June 1 but the delay will be made up as the phenomenon progresses on its south-west to north-east arc. With extreme temperatures right from a cold sytart to May to dust-laden winds in mid-May, the weather in the country is paying the price for accelerating climate change.

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Security lapse at Navjot Singh Sidhu’s Patiala home, says it will not deter him from raising his voice against Punjab

After his release from jail, he slammed the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government for its law and order in the state.



Navjot Singh Sidhu

Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu has filed a complaint with the Punjab Police after he spotted a suspicious person wrapped in a grey blanket on his terrace. He alleged a security lapse at his Patiala home. He couldn’t catch him as he fled after his servant raised an alarm.

Taking to Twitter, Sidhu said, Today on the terrace of his residence an unknown suspicious character wrapped in a grey blanket was noticed around 7:00 pm, the moment his servant went out raised the alarm, and called for help, he immediately ran and escaped.

The 59-year-old further said that he has spoken to DGP Punjab Police and has also informed SSP Patiala. He said the security lapse will not deter him from raising his voice for Punjab.

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Punjab Police registered a case in this matter. According to the reports, the Patiala Senior Superintendent of Police Varun Sharma visited his residence after the complaint and is currently investigating the matter. The CCTV footage of the area is also being scanned, reports state.

Cricketer-turned-politician came out of the Patiala Central Jail on April 1 after serving nearly 10 months in a 1988 road rage case. After his release from jail, he slammed the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government for its law and order in the state.

He said Democracy is in chains. Punjab is the shield of this country. When dictatorship came in this country, a revolution also came, led by Rahul Gandhi.

Sidhu also slammed the Mann government over the pruning of security of slain singer Sidhu Moosewala and also making it public.

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The airline has not given any official statement in this matter.



Air India Flight

Air India flight which was en route to San Francisco from Delhi on Monday had to be returned to the stand because of a technical glitch. The San Francisco-bound flight suffered a tech issue before take off.

According to the reports, the aircraft which was carrying over 200 passengers from Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGI) had to be replaced with another aircraft. Later, the passengers were accommodated in another aircraft.

The airline has not given any official statement in this matter.

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Earlier today, another Air India incident occurred where a London-bound flight returned to Delhi’s IGI airport after a mid-air brawl between an unruly passenger and the flight’s cabin crew.

A brawl ensued between a passenger and the crew members shortly after it departed from the airport at around 6:35 am. The onboard ruckus forced the plane to turn around and return to Delhi again where the raucous passenger was deboarded and handed over to the police at the airport.

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