Nipah Virus Outbreak in Kerala

By Amigos IAS

Why is it in the news?

  • In Kozhikode district, Kerala, two confirmed deaths have been reported due to Nipah infection.

About Nipah Virus

  • Nipah is a zoonotic disease transmitted from infected animals or contaminated food.
    • Transmission from animals via consumption of contaminated food, particularly raw date palm sap or fruit.
  • Fruit bats, known as flying foxes, are primary animal hosts.
  • Human-to-human transmission possible, especially in close family and healthcare settings.
  • Nipah outbreaks reported mainly in South and Southeast Asian countries, including Bangladesh and India.
  • Slower spread compared to COVID-19 but high mortality rate (40%-75% in different outbreaks).
  • Quick containment attributed to lower infectiousness, with an R0 of about 0.48.
  • Symptoms include fever, headache, cough, sore throat, difficulty breathing, vomiting, and severe cases can lead to coma and death.



Zoonotic Diseases:

·        Zoonosis refers to diseases that are transmitted between animals and humans.

Ø  These diseases, known as Zoonotic Diseases, can vary from mild to severe, and in extreme cases, can even be life-threatening.

·        Zoonoses can be bacterial, viral, or parasitic, or may involve unconventional agents that transmit the disease.

·        The WHO defined Zoonoses in 1959 as “those diseases and infections which are naturally transmitted between vertebrate animals and man.”



Zoonotic Diseases in India:

  • India is a significant geographical hotspot for zoonotic diseases.
  • Zoonotic diseases in India cause a substantial burden of morbidity and mortality.
  • High-priority zoonotic diseases like Brucellosis have been reported from regions ranging from Haryana to Goa.
  • Occupational zoonotic diseases like Anthrax have affected human health across the country.
  • Bovine tuberculosis (bTB) is endemic in India and affects cattle, impacting productivity and posing a public health threat.
  • India faces one of the highest bacterial disease burdens globally, making antibiotics crucial to limit morbidity and mortality.
  • Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) is a significant concern in India due to the extensive use of antibiotics.
  • Major public health zoonotic diseases in India include Rabies, Brucellosis, Toxoplasmosis, Cysticercosis, Echinococcosis, Japanese Encephalitis (JE), Plague, Leptospirosis, Scrub typhus, Nipah, Trypanosomiasis, Kyasanur forest disease (KFD), and Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever (CCHF).
  • According to the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), approximately 75% of emerging and re-emerging infections in India are zoonotic.
  • New zoonotic pathogens (viruses) continue to emerge and spread across the country.

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