Assam allays nipah fears; warns against eating fruits, pork


GUWAHATI, May 26, 2018: Allaying fears on the outbreak of nipah virus in the state, the Assam Health department on Friday has stated that there is no reason for panic but warned against eating fruits and said pork should be eaten only after boiling it thoroughly.

The health department has also not restricted people from visiting Kerala, where the virus has so far killed 12 persons, following directions from the central surveillance unit of the integrated disease surveillance programme under the Union ministry of health and family affairs.

"There is no need to panic about nipah virus here. It is restricted to two districts of Kerala. We have been asked by the Centre not to put any restriction on people visiting Kerela," said Umesh Phangcho, state nodal officer, vector-borne disease control programme, Assam.

"However, people should take some precautionary measures like avoiding eating fruits bitten by bats and should eat pork only after boiling it properly," Phangcho said. He said nipah virus is not carried by mosquitoes.

An advisory mentioning how the disease spreads, its symptoms and preventive measures, has however been issued by the Union Health Ministry. The ministry advised the public to avoid consuming raw date palm sap or toddy and half-eaten fruits from the ground, to refrain from entering into abandoned wells and eat only washed fruits.

Nipah virus first appeared in domestic pigs in Malaysia and Singapore in 1998 and 1999. In Kerala, bat has been identified as a carrier of the virus. The illness commonly presents as brain inflammation but in some patients, the early phase of the illness may also be marked by fever, persistent cough and difficulty in breathing.

TNT News with inputs from The Telegraph

Image: PTI