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AH&VS Deptt clarifies on Nipah Virus, issues advisory


Dimapur, May 27: The Department of Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Services, Nagaland today said that it is vigilant against Nipah Virus and is updating the information daily through our Animal Disease Monitoring and Surveillance Cell.
Reacting to lots of questions on Nipah Virus, whether pig import to Nagaland should be banned, whether eating pork is safe, whether the news of Nipah virus is just a media hype, whether some big corporate are behind the news in order to sell their drugs etc, the Department clarified that it is a new and emerging disease that can cause disease to human as well as animals and is caused by a virus called Nipah virus.
It was first recorded in Malaysia in 1998-99 which resulted in infection of 265 and death of 105 persons and 1.1 millions of pigs were destroyed. The virus is named after Nipah River Village in Malaysia.
The Department stated that in India, there were two outbreaks in 2001 and in 2007 and in both those outbreaks, infection or transmissions through pigs were ruled out.
It said fruit eating bats, also called flying fox, is said to be the natural host of this virus. It commonly affects animals such as pigs, dogs and horses, and can be spread to humans and cause serious illness and death among humans. Symptoms are not specific and include flu- like illness and hence can be confused with any respiratory illness. It is always a cause for concern when a disease can affect more than one species of animals and human. However, in the recent outbreak in Kerala, livestock and bats were not involved.
The Department advised the public not to panic and be aware and alert. It also asked the people to avoid travel to affected zones or avoid people coming from such places.
The Department further asked the public not to have an aversion towards bats as they are important to ecological balance of the environment. It advised people to always maintain proper hygiene like washing hands especially after touching animals, before eating, proper washing of food items, etc; Maintain healthy habits and keep immune system at its optimum because the outcome of any infection depends on an individual’s defense mechanism.
Additional Director (HoD), Dr Aomangyang Walling reminded everyone that every disease occurrences in animals should be promptly reported to the nearest veterinary facility. (Page News Service)