Srinagar: The Directorate of Health Services in Kashmir (DHSK) Monday asked people not to panic as Kashmir remains free of the Nipah virus, which is currently spreading and causing concern in southern parts of India.
Nipah is a rare but serious bat-borne virus that can cause fever, vomiting, and respiratory infections in humans.
Severe cases can involve seizures and encephalitis – inflammation of the brain – and result in a coma.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the virus has a fatality rate between 40 to 75 percent.
It has no known vaccine, and the usual treatment is to provide supportive care.
DHSK spokesperson Dr Mir Mushtaq told Greater Kashmir that no cases of Nipah virus had been reported in the area.
"We are currently in a safe zone," Dr Mushtaq said, noting the absence of reported cases in the region.
“Having successfully battled the COVID-19 virus, we believe we have the necessary measures in place to confront this virus as well,” he said.
Dr Mushtaq said that they had not received any advisory from the Union Health Ministry regarding the Nipah virus.
On September 13, two people died of the Nipah virus in Kerala.
This marks the fourth outbreak of the virus in the state since 2018.
The Kerala government has shut down schools and offices in parts of the state and has declared containment zones.
Indian authorities have instituted mass testing to halt the spread of the deadly Nipah virus.
The Nipah Virus strain behind the high risk of an outbreak in Kerala finds its roots in Bangladesh and Malaysia. The state is among nine Indian states where there is a high probability of Nipah occurrence.
The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and World Health Organisation conducted studies and it was found that nine states in India have the probability of Nipah occurrence.
A total of 1233 contacts of the people infected have been identified and the Kerala government has categorised them as ‘high-risk’ contacts, and 352 as low-risk contacts. All of them are under isolation.