Samples collected from bats in Kerala's Kozhikode and Malappuram districts, where 12 people have died of Nipah infection, have tested negative for the virus, according to a report submitted by a central medical team to the Health Ministry today.
With funding from CEPI, Profectus BioSciences and Emergent BioSolutions will be working on a vaccine for humans based on virus technology developed over 15 years ago by researchers Christopher Broder and Katharine Bossart at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, writes Quartz.
"In the Bangladesh and India outbreaks, consumption of fruits or fruit products (e.g. raw date palm juice) contaminated with urine or saliva from infected fruit bats was the most likely source of infection", the World Health Organization explains.
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If there are people who have returned from the places where infection was reported and they are suffering from fever or headache, they should contact nearby hospitals, she said. Two persons in the neighboring state of Karnataka are also under observation.
Nipah virus is a newly emerging disease that can cause serious harm to both humans and animals. However, Bihar reports encephalitis cases every summer, and as one of the reasons of death from Nipah is brain fever - also a symptom of encephalitis - the state health society has chose to keep track.
The organisation said that the preparedness level should be enhanced due to the population and goods movements between the countries and India where a current outbreak has claimed 10 lives while at least 40 others have been put in quarantine.
The Union health ministry has said the virus has not spread beyond Kerala. However, the incubation period is between 4 and 14 days from contracting the disease to the onset of symptoms. Patients will experience mild to severe acute respiratory infection. So far, investigations lead officials to believe that the outbreak has not yet spread to other states, as they linked the initial deaths to a specific well that has been colonized by bats. The primary treatment for human cases is intensive supportive care. He said nipah virus is not carried by mosquitoes. "People have been advised to keep distance from bats and pigs". The first outbreak of the disease occurred in a Malaysian village in 1998, leading to over 100 deaths, including those of many farmers who had contracted it through their pigs.