Nipah in Kerala: UAE asks passengers to be monitored for symptoms

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MOHAP says suspected cases should be isolated, allays fears of major outbreak in India

Dubai, May 31-  The Ministry of Health and Prevention on Wednesday said it has ordered airport authorities to detect and notify passengers showing symptoms of Nipah infection that has hit the state of Kerala in India.

“In case of a suspected case of Nipah virus, the patient should be isolated immediately and contact the health authorities,” the ministry said in a statement.

 The ministry emphasised the need to educate the passengers from the affected area about the importance of contacting the health authorities in cases they feel any symptoms of Nipah virus infection.

The symptoms of the brain damaging disease vary from none to fever, cough, headache, shortness of breath, and confusion.

According to the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, Infection with Nipah virus is associated with encephalitis (inflammation of the brain).

After exposure and an incubation period of five to 14 days, the illness presents with three to 14 days of fever and headache, followed by drowsiness, disorientation and mental confusion.

These signs and symptoms can progress to coma within 24 to 48 hours. Some patients have a respiratory illness during the early part of their infections, and half of the patients showing severe neurological signs showed also pulmonary signs.

The UAE ministry had last week advised residents to put off unnecessary trips to Kerala.

However, on Wednesday it sought to allay fears of travellers citing the latest updates from the Indian health authorities that the outbreak is not a major one and very much localised.

The Indian Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, after reviewing the cases of all the patients who have lost their lives, has said that the Central High-level Team is of the view that the Nipah virus disease is not a major outbreak and is only a local occurrence, the UAE ministry stated.

“As of last update from the Indian Ministry of Health, there is no increase [in the] number of detected cases, and no new area [has been] affected by the disease,” it added.

Courtesy: Gulf News

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