Deadly virus makes India on alert after boy’s death

India’s health authorities are on the alert after a teenager dies infected with the extremely deadly Nipah virus.

The case was registered in the city of Kozhikode, Kerala state, last Sunday, 5.

Nipah virus bats

Credit: CraigRJD/iStockNipah virus from fruit bats and disease-infected pigs

The pandemic potential of the disease generated an alert from the World Health Organization (WHO) in view of the high chances of transmission.

The Nipah virus (NiV), scientifically called “Nipah henipavirus”, can cause respiratory symptoms, coughing, sore throat and body, fatigue, encephalitis (swelling of the brain), which can progress to seizures and death.

According to the American network CBS, the 12-year-old boy sought medical care after having a high fever for a week, progressing to severe brain swelling.

Nipah virus

Credit: Getty Images/iStockphotoNipahencephalitis virus can cause swelling in the brain, which can progress to seizures and death.

India’s health authorities tracked and isolated at least 188 people who might have come into contact with the dead boy and his family. Of those screened, 20 are considered to be at high risk by health authorities.

Nipah virus cases

The Nipah virus, which is among the ten most dangerous viruses known in Asia. it was first identified in 1999 in Malaysia, spreading to Singapore, India and Bangladesh.

The disease is transmitted by fruit bats, pigs and by contact between humans and, in the case of the first outbreak, the contamination was after people had direct contact with sick pigs.

In some cases, a person infected with the Nipah virus may have no symptoms of the illness or may have mild effects that may be flu-like and may disappear after 3 to 14 days.

In the case of infections in which symptoms appear, they appear between 10 to 21 days after contact with the virus.