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Nipah virus in India (Kerala)

07 Sep 2021

According to media, the Ministry of Health in Kerala has reported a person died from Nipah virus disease on 5 September 2021 in Kozhikode in the north of the state.

Nipah virus is spread by fruit bats and mainly affects domestic and wild animals. Infection in people is rare but can occur if you have close contact with infected animals, their secretions, or from eating food or fruit juices contaminated by the virus. Nipah can cause serious symptoms such as brain inflammation, breathing difficulties or even death.

Advice for Travellers

The risk to travellers is very rare. You need to be aware of the risk if you are:

  • intending to live or work in basic conditions in South East Asia
  • going to be involved in intensive pig farming in Bangladesh, India or Malaysia

You can reduce your risk of infection by:

  • avoiding close contact with fruit bats and bat roosts
  • avoid consumption of food and drink potentially contaminated by fruit bat droppings or pee; raw date palm sap should be boiled before being consumed and fruit should be thoroughly washed and peeled
  • wearing protective clothing and gloves when handling sick animals or participating in slaughter
  • being aware of the risks of infection and practice regularĀ hand washing with soap if you are caring for ill relatives potentially infected with Nipah
  • following strict infection control procedures if you will be working as a healthcare worker looking after patients with suspected or confirmed Nipah