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Nipah Virus Disease in India (Kerala) (Update 1)

28 May 2018

On 25 May 2018, the Government of Kerala (Directorate of Health Services) Link reported that 12 people have died of Nipah virus disease in Kerala. A total of 36 cases have been reported, with 14 confirmed in the laboratory and a further 22 suspected cases under investigation. Nipah virus is associated with pigs and fruit bats. Some of the recent cases are said to have handled mangoes that been chewed by bats.

Infection with Nipah virus is rare but extremely dangerous, causing encephalitis (inflammation of the brain). The incubation period is 5 – 14 days and initially causes headache and fever which progress to drowsiness and confusion. Respiratory symptoms may also occur. Coma may follow within 2 days and death may result.

Advice for Travellers

There is no vaccine against Nipah virus and only supportive treatment is available.Travellers intending to live or work in basic conditions or who may be involved in intensive pig farming in Bangladesh, India or Malaysia, particularly in outbreak areas, should be aware of the risk.

Avoid close contact with fruit bats or exposure to food/drink potentially contaminated by fruit bats.