Nipah virus: UAE issues Kerala travel warning

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DUBAI, MAY 25,
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has asked its citizens to put off unnecessary travel to Kerala where a Nipah virus outbreak has claimed 11 lives and 40 are in quarantine for suspected infection, the Ministry of Health and Prevention (Mohap) said in a statement.
The virus, which commonly affects animals such as bats, pigs, dogs, and horses, can spread to humans and can prove fatal.
In Kerala, the virus has so far claimed 11 lives and the State government has stepped up efforts to contain the outbreak.
The statement said that it was closely monitoring the situation.“The ministry works with its strategic partners to assess the risk of importation of Nipah virus [NiV] cases to the country and put the necessary control measures. Also, Mohap is in continuous coordination with the World Health Organisation [WHO] to implement the global recommendations,” read the statement.
“Mohap alerts the people travelling to Kerala to be aware of possibly of contracting the infection and advises them to postpone unnecessary travel till the situation will be controlled,” it added.
Enhance levels of preparedness, WHO tells nations
The WHO, however, has not issued any specific advice to countries that have not been affected by the Nipah but has asked them to enhance the level of preparedness.
Among the advisories given, the world body has advised countries to enhance surveillance at healthcare facilities, including at points of entry and give case definitions among healthcare workers. It said the Nipah symptoms were not specific and included flu-like illness and hence could be confused with any respiratory illness. Dubai-based Emirates airlines also issued a statement saying that they were monitoring the situation closely. “Emirates is aware of recent Nipah cases reported in the State of Kerala, India. The safety of our passengers and crew will always be our top priority, and we are monitoring the situation closely. With regards to preventive or other measures, we will take guidance from the WHO and other international bodies. At this time, there are no recommended actions for airlines, ” the statement said.

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