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Jun 18, 2018
Category: General
Posted by: admin

On the occasion of International Day of Yoga on 21st June 2018, the Department of Microbiology will organize an interactive Yoga session from 10:00AM in Department.

May 27, 2018
Category: General
Posted by: admin

A report on Nipah virus outbreak ongoing in Kerela, written by Vishal Dashora (M.Sc. Final). 

May 19, 2018
Category: General
Posted by: admin

The online registration for admission to M.Sc. and Ph.D. Microbiology for academic year 2018-19 has started. The admission portals will remain open for registration till 07-Jun-2018. For registration, please visit P.G. admission portal of University here, and Ph.D. admission portal here.

CMS - 2.2.7 - Skookumchuck
 

Students currently enrolled for PhD

May 27, 2018

Nipah Virus Outbreak in Kerela 2018


A report on Nipah virus outbreak ongoing in Kerela, written by Vishal Dashora (M.Sc. Final). 

Category: General
Posted by: admin

VISHALNipah virus (NiV) has been the talk of the town since last two weeks because of the havoc it has been creating in Kerala. It is believed to have responsible for deaths of 13 people including patients as well as attending medical staff. You must have seen a lot of images of fruits and vegetables in newspapers telling that the ‘Fruit bats’ are known to be the main reason for the spreading of this virus but let’s see whether it is true in this case or not.

First let’s know about the causative agent. NiV belongs to Henipavirus genus which are typically negative sense single stranded RNA viruses and are naturally harboured by fruit bats (Pteropus). NiV infection is a relatively new zoonosis that causes fatal symptoms in both animals and humans. Bats are the primary reservoir of the virus but domestic animals like pigs have been documented as intermediate hosts that can carry the virus like observed in the outbreak in Malaysia (1998). Human-to-Human transmission has also been reported in the 2001 outbreak in West Bengal. NiV infection in humans has a wide range of clinical presentations, from asymptomatic infection to acute respiratory syndrome and fatal encephalitis. Common symptoms include fever, cough, shortness of breath, and confusion.

In south Asia, the infection was first identified as the cause of encephalitis in Bangladesh (2001). Up to March 31, 2012 a total of 209 human cases of NiV infection in Bangladesh were reported out of which 161 (77%) eventually died. In India, a total of 50 deaths from NiV infection were reported in 2001 and 2007 in the West Bengal region bordering Bangladesh. Strong evidence indicative of human-to-human transmission of NiV was found in Siliguri (India) in 2001 and in Bangladesh in 2004. For the detection of NiV, RT-PCR test is performed to detect RNA from urine samples of the patients. Nipah virus-specific immunoglobulin M (IgM) and IgG antibodies are also detected in several patients.

In present outbreak, NiV first emerged in Kozhikode in Baby Memorial hospital on 19th May 2018 and since then it has taken 13 lives in less than 10 days. Kerala government has alerted the people in state to be careful and vigilant in case any symptoms show up to any individual. Travel and export-import of goods have been put on hold in the wake of this emergency. Other states like Himachal Pradesh and Goa have also conducted tests for detecting NiV but have confirmed that no trace of Nipah virus was present in the patients. Himachal Pradesh also tested for the presence of NiV in dead bats found in some regions but the tests were fortunately negative.

Recent reports from Kerala's Kozhikode and Malappuram districts, where 12 people have died of Nipah infection, have confirmed that samples taken from dead bats in these region, including the house from where this infection originated, have tested negative for NiV and hence have ruled out bats and pigs as the primary source of this outbreak. Experts, however, have said that these could just be the initial findings and require more investigations for confirmation. The authorities have now decided to conduct more tests to locate its source.

World Health Organisation has said that there is no vaccine for the virus yet. The main treatment for those infected is ‘intensive supportive care’. The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) have said that Profectus BioSciences and Emergent BioSolutions would receive up to $25 million to advance development and manufacturing of a shot for Nipah virus infection. The WHO has named Nipah as one of the eight priority diseases that could cause a global epidemic, alongside the likes of Ebola and Zika.

Though it has been repeatedly mentioned that the outbreak is currently localised in the two affected districts of Kerala but still it is advisable for people in affected area to take certain precautions like avoiding consuming animal-bitten raw fruits and vegetables and staying away from bats. The pig farmers should also be advised to be careful as pigs have been reported to act as intermediate hosts for NiV. Though many in the scientific community believe that this outbreak in not likely to spread further as all the cases and their contacts has been mostly contained, but it is always better to be careful.  

 

References and Suggested Reading:

1.      U.S. biotechs to speed work on Nipah vaccine as virus hits India

2.      WHO Nipah Virus (NiV) Infection

3.      Nipah virus outbreaks in the WHO South-East Asia Region

4.      Here’s what we know about the deadly Nipah virus

5.      Nipah Virus: Symptoms, precautions, facts, cure and more details here