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Saturday, July 13, 2024

Watch out for Henipavirus

The Department of Health of the Philippines (DOH) assured that, as of this writing, there has been no new cases of Henipavirus infection. This is in contrast with the recent report of major public health problem in India, which indicated a high mortality rate of 40% out of 100% of this virus infection.
The Henipavirus outbreak in the state of Kerala, Southern part of India, infected hundreds of people holding school activities and offices. Lockdown was imposed in some affected districts. Two have reportedly died this year on the fourth outbreak since 2018; one died on August 30, and the other died last September 10, 2023.
Henipavirus was detected in Sultan Kudarat, Mindanao last 2014. The 17 suspected infected persons developed the signs and symptoms, acute encephalitis syndrome, severe influenza-like illness, or meningitis almost two (2) months of exposure to horses, its meat consumption and human to case patients’ exposure. Record also says that the horses died on that incident and amongst the 17 infected persons, 9 humans died while 8 had fully recovered.
The Henipaviruses belong to a genus of recently emerging viruses within the family Paramyxoviridae (1–3) and include 2 zoonotic members: Hendra virus (HeV) and Nipah virus (NiV). HeV was first described in Australia in 1994, when it caused an outbreak of severe acute respiratory diseases that led to a high mortality rate among horses. This outbreak among pig farmers and abattoir workers exposed to infected swine secretions was associated with severe encephalitic illness and a high fatality rate. The virus can also be acquired from waste, saliva, and blood of bats, and contaminated raw fruits.
It can be transmitted to humans from animals or through food contamination and exposure from people to people.
The signs and symptoms include fever, headache with changes in sensorium, cough, difficulty of breathing and can cause respiratory infection, vomiting, seizures and brain inflammation that lead to comatose, said DOH. There is also no known vaccine for the virus.
For prevention, use protective equipment, stay away from sick animals, wash, and cook the food thoroughly, and do not go in bat areas, pig, and horses’ farms.
(Source: DOH, DOH Eastern Visayas and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

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