Nipah Virus: HP sounds alerts, J&K still in slumber

Vishal Bharti
JAMMU, MAY 27: In the wake of Nipah Virus threat, the neighbouring state of Himachal Pradesh has sounded alert and issued advisories, but the state of Jammu and Kashmir is still in slumber and has not yet taken any preventive measures to fight the epidemic, if it hits the state.
While the symptoms of epidemics were also reported in Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir has so far not taken any measures or issued advisories for the residents.
As per reports, consumers of fruits that are bitten by ‘fruit bats’, farmers who come in contact with bats, people consuming and working with pigs and people who are in contact with people affected by the virus, are at high risk of getting affected.
Hence, preventions like avoiding contact with pigs and pig handlers, maintaining personal hygiene, avoiding consumption of raw fruits, should be taken seriously.
Sudden onset of fever, headache, muscle pain and vomiting are the early symptoms of the virus, as reported.
“Prevention is better than cure and this should be the policy to be adopted by the state health department,” an official said.
He said that ‘act before it’s too late’, adding, “like in previous cases when incidents of swine flu were found in Jammu, the government established check up centres at airport, railways stations and bus stand but this time no such exercise has been initiated.”
There are no awareness campaigns or messages or any kind of advisories from the Directorate of Health, the official said and added that the government should at least make optimum use of technology and make the masses aware about this disease.
Meanwhile, sources in the Jammu and Kashmir Health Department said, “the authorities have not yet taken any preventive measures and they have discussed not even discussed about it in any of the meetings.”
“We must be prepared, because there is probability of the epidemic hitting this region after the neighbouring Himachal Pradesh having already sounded alert, issued advisories and put their doctors on tenterhooks to meet any eventuality,” they added.
“When will we wake up? Are we waiting for the disaster to happen? Why cannot we gear up and tighten our belts to meet any emergency. We should not allow the situation to get panicky,” sources said.
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has also issued an advisory for the general public and healthcare personnel on how to take preventive measures in high-risk areas and how the Nipah virus spreads and what are its symptoms.
The ministry advised the public to avoid consuming raw date palm sap or toddy, half-eaten fruits from the ground and refrain from entering into abandoned wells and eat only properly washed fruits. (UNI)