The United Arab Emirates has asked its citizens to avoid unnecessary travel to Kerala, where the Nipah virus has killed 11 people, reported local newspaper Khaleej Times on Friday.
The UAE’s Ministry of Health and Prevention, in a press statement, said that it was monitoring the situation. “The ministry works with its strategic partners to assess the risk of importation of Nipah virus cases to the country and put the necessary control measures,” the release said, according to Khaleej Times. It also said that the ministry is in coordination with the World Health Organization to implement global recommendations.
The infection spreads from animals to humans. It causes fever and cold-like symptoms, before quickly advancing to encephalitis, which is inflammation of the brain, and myocarditis, or inflammation of the heart. There is no vaccine or cure at present.
Dubai-based airline Emirates too issued a statement on Friday. “The safety of our passengers and crew will always be our top priority, and we are monitoring the situation closely,” the statement read, adding that they are “taking guidance” from the World Health Organization.
West Bengal and Karnataka issue advisories to health officials
West Bengal’s health department issued an advisory asking officials to watch out for symptoms of the virus in patients and record their travel history, reported The Times of India on Friday. Health officers in Jalpaiguri, Coochbehar and Nadia districts held meetings to review precautionary measures even before the official advisory was issued. This was because of an outbreak in Siliguri in 2001 that killed 66 people, reported the daily. “We are planning to step up vigil since there has been an outbreak in south India,” said Coochbehar Chief Medical Officer of Health Sumit Ganguly said.
The Karnataka Health and Family Welfare Department has advised nurses and medical students from Kerala working in the state not to go home, reported The News Minute. The department asked them to refrain from travelling to Kozhikode and Malappuram districts, where the most number of cases have been reported. However, the department has not issued a circular or directive prohibiting students from travelling to Kerala.