New Delhi |Jagran Lifestyle Desk: Kerala witnessed its first Nipah virus fatality with the death of a 12-year-old boy from Pazhoor, near Chathamangalam, on Sunday. Ever since the news broke out, experts are stressing on the importance of its source of transmission, which is highly contagious once it jumps from animal to humans. It has been observed that the morbidity and mortality rates are quite high.

According to Dr Ashutosh Biswas, Professor, Department of Medicine at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), fruit bats are the carriers of the virus. He said, "Fruit bats are the carriers of the virus, and they are the main cause of transmission. Fruit bats live in a specific geographical territory. If they fly to other places, naturally this virus can be transmitted. We don't have specific treatment for the disease."

He further stressed the need to understand that the Nipah virus is a very serious disease, which is associated with high morbidity and mortality.

He continues, "In the past, we have seen and observed in India, that the fruit bats can also transmit it to our domestic animals like pigs, goats, cats, horses, and others. So, the jumping of this virus from animals to humans is very dangerous, and is what we call a spillover."

Highlighting the importance of detecting the source of transmission, Biswas said that once it gets into the human system, it starts transmitting from human to human. The transmission is so fast that it can 'spill over'.

He further warned the people who eat fallen fruits without washing. He said, "Eating the fallen half-eaten fruits, that too without washing them, is a very dangerous habit."

"We have had two Nipah virus outbreaks before this one; once in Kerala, once in West Bengal. During the last outbreak, about 90 per cent of the infected persons died. Then in 2019, we had just 1 case of the virus, and now in 2021, we have got another case, a very fatal one. So, it is important to understand why it is happening," Biswas said.

Meanwhile, the Central government has sent a medical team to Kozhikode, Kerala, after the first death from the Nipah virus was reported on September 5. The team visited the house of the 12-year-old boy and collected the samples of Rambutan fruits from the nearby area to identify the sources.

(With ANI Inputs)

Posted By: Niharika Sanjeeiv