The Health Department has issued an alert in
Malappuram district, Kerala, after a boy undergoing treatment for West Nile
fever died. The West Nile fever is a zoonotic disease. It is caused by the West
Nile Virus. Birds are the natural hosts of West Nile virus (WNV).
According to world Health Organization (WHO)
West Nile virus transmits to humans through bites from infected Culex
mosquitoes. Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on infected birds. It may
also be transmitted through contact with other infected animals, their blood,
or other tissues. However, according to WHO, no human-to—human transmission
from casual contact has not been documented.
Symptoms of the virus infection include cold,
fever, fatigue and nausea. It can cause fatal neurological disease in humans.
West Nile Virus was first isolated in a woman in
the West Nile district of Uganda in 1937. An epidemic of WNV was reported in
humans in Israel in 1951.
The Animal Husbandry Department in Kerala has
been directed to keep a surveillance on birds, especially in areas such as the
Kadalundy bird sanctuary. The Kadalundi Bird Sanctuary is located in the
Kozhikode District. It spreads over a cluster of islands where Kadalundipuzha
River meets with the Arabian Sea.