Nipah virus sparks Kuwait quarantine measures amid outbreak fears

Sunday, June 10, 2018
By Paul Martin

KUWAIT has confirmed it is introducing new quarantine procedures to deal with anyone infected with the Nipah virus in the wake of warnings about its potential to spread around the world in a global pandemic.

Sun, Jun 10, 2018

An outbreak of the illness has already claimed the lives of 17 people in the Indian state of Kerala.

Non-profit organisation EcoHealth Alliance yesterday published a contagion map demonstrating how easily the illness could travel to other continents via a network of international flights.

Kuwait is 10th on the list of countries most closely connected with the outbreak’s point of origin, while neighbouring Saudi Arabia is 3rd.

The Middle East North Africa Financial Network (MENAFN) website reported: “The Ministry of Health has adopted procedures that will be followed in case anyone is infected with Nipah virus.

“Sources confirmed these procedures are in line with the directive of the World Health Organisation (WHO) to monitor patients in hospitals, control the virus and implement the public health policy.

“Sources disclosed the procedures include isolation of the infected person.

Once the diagnosis is confirmed, patients in stable condition should be transferred to the Infectious Diseases Hospital and there is no need to confine them at the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), sources added.

“Sources said the ministry also stressed the need for coordination between doctors to report suspected cases, especially those coming from epidemic areas.”

Nipah, is a zoonotic disease, meaning it is spread from animals to humans.

In this case, it appears to have been transferred from fruit bats to humans, via consumption of date palm sap which has been contaminated with a bat’s urine or saliva.

Symptoms can include respiratory difficulties and swelling of the brain, with the virus having a fatality rate of between 40 and 75 percent.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) ranks Nipah as one of its R&D Blueprint priority diseases.

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