The following information has been published on the Travel Health Pro website by NaTHNaC:
Confirmed cases of Nipah virus infection(NiV) including fatalities and hospital admissions, have been reported in the southern state of Kerala. As of 25 May 2018, the Government of Kerala Directorate of Health Services has reported a total of 36 cases across 6 health districts: 14 confirmed and 22 suspected, including 11 confirmed deaths and one unconfirmed death. Confirmed cases have been reported from Kozhikode and Malappuram districts only.
NiV is an emerging virus that spreads to humans from animals (a zoonosis) and most human infections result from direct contact with sick animals, particularly bats and pigs, or their contaminated environments. NiV can cause a range of illnesses from asymptomatic infection to acute respiratory illness and fatal encephalitis. Treatment is limited to supportive care.
Eating or drinking fruit or fruit products (such as raw date palm juice) contaminated with urine/saliva from infected fruit bats is a likely source of infection. Transmission also occurs from direct exposure to infected bats, and limited human to human transmission of NiV has also been reported among family and care givers of NiV patients, including in hospital settings.
Advice from Travel Health Pro for travellers
The risk to tourists to southern India is currently very low if standard precautions are taken, but the risk to other UK travellers (such as those visiting friends and family) in Kerala may be higher, depending on activities undertaken.
There is currently no licenced vaccine to protect against NiV. If you are travelling to risk areas, pay careful attention to personal hygiene, and avoid contact with animals, especially bats and pigs, as much as possible. Gloves and other protective clothing should be worn if handling sick animals or their tissues, and during slaughtering and culling procedures.
Raw or partially fermented date palm juice should be boiled and all fruit should be thoroughly washed with clean water and peeled before consumption. Close, unprotected physical contact with people with NiV infection should be avoided. Regular hand washing should be carried out after caring for or visiting sick people.