Strict mea­sures taken at check points in Phuentshol­ing to avoid spread of Ni­pah Virus

Bhutan Times - - Front Page - Thin­ley Choda/Pling

To pre­vent the out­break of Ni­pah virus in the coun­try, the health min­istry has started manda­tory health dec­la­ra­tion at the en­try points.

The Ni­pah virus is a type of RNA virus in the genus Heni­pavirus. It can both spread be­tween peo­ple and from other an­i­mals to peo­ple. Spread typ­i­cally re­quires di­rect con­tact with an in­fected source. The virus nor­mally cir­cu­lates among spe­cific types of fruit bats.

To pre­vent the out­break of Ni­pah virus in the coun­try a team of health work­ers are mon­i­tor­ing the gate­ways route by mon­i­tor­ing non-Bhuta- nese en­ter­ing the coun­try in Phuentshol­ing.

They have to fill the health dec­la­ra­tion forms and are screened to test the symp­toms of Ni­pah virus.

Be­sides that those Bhutanese peo­ple who are com­ing from af­fected ar­eas are also been screened out.

A health of­fi­cial based on the scene said, “It’s a must that we mon­i­tor the sit­u­a­tion and han­dle it wisely as we can’t take risk to let the out­break of Ni­pah virus en­ter in the coun­try.”

A re­gional tourist from In­dia Krishna Dwai­payana 48 years said “It’s my sec­ond visit to Bhutan with my fam­ily and it’s a very good thing that the govern­ment and health of­fi­cials are do­ing to stop spread of this virus.”

He added that in their coun­try, the virus has al­ready taken pre­cious lives and he thinks their govern­ment also should do some­thing about it.

Di­ag­no­sis is based on symp­toms and con-

firmed by lab­o­ra­tory test­ing. Man­age­ment in­volves sup­port­ive care.

As of date there is no vac­cine or spe­cific treat­ment. Pre­ven­tion is by avoid­ing ex­po­sure to bats and sick pigs and not drink­ing raw date palm sap.

A Bhutanese re­sid­ing at Jaigaon Phuntsho Wangmo said, “I have stopped tak­ing fruits as I have heard that this new virus is be­ing in­fected from fruits.”

She added that she saw the spread of news first from Face­book. “I have seen a post at Face­book where a fam­ily was dead due to eat­ing of fruits which was bit­ten by a bat.”

Ni­pah Virus is known to in­fect both hu­mans and an­i­mals and can be trans­mit­ted from an­i­mals such as bats and pigs to hu­man and from hu­man to hu­man.

As of May 2018 about 700 hu­man cases of Ni­pah virus are es­ti­mated to have oc­curred and 50 to 75 per­cent of those who were in­fected died.

In May 2018, an out­break of the dis­ease re­sulted in at least 18 deaths in the In­dian state of Kerala.

The dis­ease was first iden­ti­fied in 1998 dur­ing an out­break in Malaysia while the virus was iso­lated in 1999. It is named after a vil­lage in Malaysia, Sun­gai Ni­pah. Pigs may also be in­fected and millions were killed in 1999 to stop the spread of dis­ease.

Mean­while, a per­son hav­ing symp­toms with fever, dizzi­ness, body ache, di­ar­rhoea and nau­sea needs to visit the hospi­tal. If sus­pected, the per­son will then be kept into iso­la­tion. So far no sus­pected case has been de­tected in the coun­try.

To pre­vent the out­break of Ni­pah virus in the coun­try a team of health work­ers are mon­i­tor­ing the gate­ways route by mon­i­tor­ing non-Bhutanese en­ter­ing the coun­try in Phuentshol­ing.

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