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            LUCID MAINS CURRENT AFFAIRS 2018

  1. NIPAH

WHAT IS NIPAH VIRUS INFECTION?

  • Nipah virus (NiV) infection is a newly emerged zoonosis that causes severe disease in both animals and humans.
  • The natural host of the virus are fruit bats of the Pteropodidae Family, Pteropus genus.

HISTORY OF OUTBREAK

NiV was first identified during an outbreak of disease that took place in Kampung Sungai Nipah, Malaysia in 1998. On this occasion, pigs were the intermediate hosts. In Bangladesh in 2004, humans became infected with NiV as a result of consuming date palm sap that had been contaminated by infected fruit bats. Human-to-human transmission has also been documented. Recent case in Kerala where an outbreak of the disease resulted in at least 17 deaths.

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SYMPTOMS AND TREATMENT

  • Initial symptoms are fever, headache, drowsiness followed by disorientation and mental confusion.
  • NiV infection in humans has a range of clinical presentations, from asymptomatic infection to acute respiratory syndrome and fatal encephalitis.
  • NiV is also capable of causing disease in pigs and other domestic animals.
  • There is no vaccine for either humans or animals. The primary treatment for human cases is intensive supportive care.

 

ABOUT NIPAH VIRUS

The Nipah virus is a type of RNA virus in the genus Henipavirus.

 WHY CULLING OF FRUIT BATS NOT AN EFFECTIVE MEASURE?

Fruit bats aid the distribution of plants (and therefore forests) by carrying the fruits with them and spitting the seeds or eliminating them elsewhere. This relationship between plants and bats is a form of mutualism known as "chiropterophily".

Examples of plants that benefit from this arrangement include the baobabs of the genus Adansonia and the sausage tree.

Culling them will cause disturbance to biodiversity and also will result in protests from environment activists…

CHALLENGES POSED BY THE OUTBREAK

  • NiV outbreak resulted in economic loss .As many countries like UAE banned export of fruits from India.
  • Critiques have opined that due to lack of R&D facilities to prevent or mitigate the outbreak made our National Health Policy look ineffective
  • Spread of fake news about spread of disease caused wide scale resentment & distress among people.

 Eg: Kerala

WAY FORWARD

  • There is a need to include preventive and mitigation measures in National Health Policy
  • Need to improve R&D facilities to make vaccines for Nipah. Example: Recently , Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) is planning develop safe, effective and affordable vaccines for diseases with pandemic potential, such as NiV
  • State government should take adequate measures to prevent the spread of fake news through social media etc...

ACTIONS TAKEN BY THE GOVERNMENT

  • Government prevented the spread of fake news by controlling social media and by not releasing the news to public thus by reducing public unrest.
  • Prevented spread of disease by giving primary health care and treatment at time so that spread of disease was reduced.
  • Various offices and educational institutions were given leave to prevent spread of disease Eg: Actions taken by Kerala government.
  • Government also promoted use of masks and gloves which helped in controlling the disease.