March 18, 2019
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A child which had tested positive for the rare vector-borne
viral infection called West Nile last week died in Kozhikode medical college
in Kerala on Monday. The 7-year old boy, Muhammed Shan, belonged to Vengara
The virus, usually found in North America, is new to India. It is
transmitted only by culex mosquito or sometimes by ticks, from birds to
humans, through bite and in no other way. Mosquitoes become infected
when they feed on infected birds.
Common sumptoms are fever, headache, body aches, nausea, vomiting,
skin rash and swollen lymph glands. There is no vaccine.
All those who came into contact with the child, including its parents, are
under watch for any symptoms.
The Centre had sent medical teams from the National Centre for Disease Control
to investigate the occurrence of the case and take preventive steps. The Indian
Council of Medical Research was also alerted.
“No need to panic. The boy was in isolation ward for last 10 days. We are on
high alert and going by the protocol of the World Health Organisation,” Kerala
Health Minister KK Shylaja told the press. All hospitals have been alerted.
About 1 in 5 infected people develop fever and other symptoms and 1 out of
150 cases can be fatal. People over 60 years of age are at greater risk. Symptoms
include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma,
tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis.
Recovery from severe illness might take several weeks or months. Some effects
to the central nervous system might be permanent.
Over-the-counter pain relievers can be used to reduce fever and relieve some
Tests are required to confirm the infection.