One more death has been reported in India's Nipah virus outbreak, and today the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) announced a $25 million collaboration with two pharmaceutical companies to develop a vaccine against the disease, one of the group's priority diseases.
However, more tests are being conducted as officials say that these are just the initial findings.
According to an IANS report, officials said that 21 samples from bats and pigs were sent to the High Security Animal Diseases laboratory at Bhopal but all turned out to be negative.
The 60-year-old man had been receiving treatment at a hospital in Kozhikode district in Kerala state, the outbreak's epicenter.
Further, suspected cases in other states have tested negative for the virus, and all the confirmed cases were linked to people who got the infection from the first victim.
"The district health societies have also been asked take contact details of all the relatives and acquaintances of the suspected patients so that investigations can be done thoroughly whether the virus has spread among them or not". In 2004, humans were infected as a result of consuming date palm sap that had been contaminated by infected fruit bats.
The Sikkim health department in its statement said, "Though there is a minimal possibility of Nipah virus in Sikkim, the people need to take precaution".
Nipah has killed more than 260 people in Malaysia, Bangladesh and India since 1998 and has a mortality rate of almost 70 percent, according to the World Health Organization.
Defining infection as contained, Kerala Health Secretary Rajeev Sadanandan said, "If there are 1 lakh bats in the area and say five of them are infected, the probability of finding one infected bat out of 1 lakh bats is highly improbable".
Nipah virus is a zoonotic virus, which means it is transmitted from animals to humans.
Fruit bats are the natural host of NiV. Currently, there is no known treatment against the virus, which proved fatal in 70% of recorded cases.
Speaking to SOM this morning, Dr. S. Chandrashekar, Acting Medical Superintendent of K.R. Hospital, said that as serious symptoms were observed in Raghu, he was shifted to the dedicated (isolated) ward set up for Nipah-infected people. According to the medical reports, this virus also damages lungs and kidneys of humans.
The symptoms of the disease include fever, headache, drowsiness, respiratory illness, disorientation and mental confusion.
Nipah has killed more than 260 people in Malaysia, Bangladesh and India since 1998.
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