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First COVID, Now Nipah Virus? Mortality Rate Higher Than COVID, Warns ICMR

The director-general of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Rajeev Bahl, stated on Friday that the mortality rate for Nipah virus infection is significantly higher compared to that of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Edited By : Malika Sahni | Updated: Sep 16, 2023 18:22 IST
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First COVID, Now Nipah Virus? Mortality Rate Higher Than COVID, Warns ICMR
First COVID, Now Nipah Virus? Mortality Rate Higher Than COVID, Warns ICMR

Not long ago, COVID was seen as a major threat. After the world conquered its fight against the deadly virus, a new battle emerged with the Nipah outbreak in Kerala. The director-general of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Rajeev Bahl, stated on Friday that the mortality rate for Nipah virus infection is significantly higher compared to that of the Covid-19 pandemic.

While COVID-19 has a mortality rate of two to three per cent, Nipah exhibits a death rate ranging from 40 to 70 per cent. Bahl emphasized that efforts are being made to contain the spread of this deadly virus in the southern state. The ICMR is currently procuring 20 more doses of monoclonal antibody from Australia for Nipah virus treatment. However, Bahl noted that this medicine must be administered during the early stages of infection, as efficacy trials have not yet been conducted. Currently, no one in India has received these antibody doses.

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As of now, six people have tested positive for Nipah virus in Kerala, with two fatalities. In response, restrictions have been tightened in the Kozhikode district, including the closure of educational institutions, parks, and beaches, as well as the ban on prayer gatherings and public events.

What Is Nipah Virus?

Nipah virus is a zoonotic illness transmitted from animals to humans, often via fruit bats. It can also spread through contaminated food and direct human-to-human contact. The symptoms of Nipah virus infection are similar to those of COVID-19, including cough, sore throat, muscle pain, encephalitis (brain swelling), and more.

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First published on: Sep 16, 2023 06:42 AM IST

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