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Mass awareness can prevent Nipah virus: experts
Nipah virus

Mass awareness can prevent Nipah virus: experts

Wide-ranging mass-awareness through using both print and electronic media has become an urgent need to prevent any outbreak of Nipah virus especially among the children.
Three persons including two babies suffering from suspected Nipah virus, so far, died at Rajshahi Medical College Hospital (RMCH) during the last couple of weeks.According to the hospital sources, the deceased were identified as Apel Mahmud, 11, son of Mukhlesur Rahman and Kaosar Ali, 13, son of Abul Kashem of Bhalain village and Hafizul Islam, 25, son of Alimuddin of Balu Bazar under Manda Upazila of Naogaon district.Family members of the deceased and sick patients said they fell sick after drinking date juice and half-bitten jujube.A five-member investigation team from the Directorate General of Health Services visited the Bhalain village yesterday afternoon and asked the local health officials to keep at least 42 more other children in close observation.Dr Mozahar Hossain, Civil Surgeon of Naogaon, told BSS that all sorts of precautionary measures were adopted to prevent any outbreak of the virus.Meanwhile, hospital sources said some other patients suffering from the same symptoms are undergoing treatment at the hospital. They were kept under observation in Ward No-36 and 14 of the hospital. Prof Dr Iqbal Bari, Head of Pediatrics Department of Rajshahi Medical College Hospital (RMCH), laid this stress while talking to BSS here yesterday.He said the children are the most vulnerable to the virus as they contain low immunity power naturally. Besides, he stated that the children became unconscious after infected with the virus within 21 days of infection.“We have no adequate facilities and resources to address any outbreak of the deadly disease”. He added that Intensive Care Unit and the high-cost Ventilator are very essential to provide modern supportive treatment but the facilities are absent in RMCH.
Around 90 percent infected patients could be survived if they were given modern treatment, he added. Likewise, he suggested that people in affected areas with such symptoms should rush to doctors.
“The virus is highly infectious and has the potential to transmit from person to person,” Prof Dr Bari said adding Nipah virus causes severe illness characterized by inflammation of the brain (encephalitis), respiratory disease, seizures, vomiting and fainting.
Besides, he said there is no effective medicine or vaccine available to treat the patients infected with Nipah virus. Dr Khalilur Rahman, Associate Professor of RMCH’s Medicine Department, said Nipah virus affects brain quickly and creates inflammation, leading patients to death in a short time.He advises not to eat partially eaten fruits, wash them before eating and washing hands after coming into contact with patients. He suggested people not to take date and palm juice and half eaten fruits as fruit bats, the natural host of the Nipah virus, could contaminate the juice.Symptoms appear with fever followed by altered mental status, seizure and death, the experts said. They suggested that people in affected areas with such symptoms should see doctors.Dr Khalil said all the schoolboys and girls should be motivated for refraining from taking any unprocessed date juice and partially eaten-fruits. To this end, the teachers should be instructed by the higher authorities concern immediately for the purpose.BSS, Rajshahi