DOH says surveillance system ready for Nipah virus

Photo courtesy of NIAID
Photo courtesy of NIAID

THE Department of Health (DOH) on Saturday, September 23, 2023, assured the public that there is an established system in the Philippines that is aimed at detecting the possible presence of the Nipah virus.

In a statement, the DOH said the government has long been on alert over the threat of the Nipah virus.

"The DOH has established a surveillance system to monitor if additional cases will appear, but, to date, no similar health events have been detected," said the DOH.

The health department added that it continues to strengthen its public health interventions against different diseases.

"We place emphasis on disease prevention, through health promotion and communication as well as Infection-Prevention-Control (IPC) measures, to reduce the transmission of infections, including the Nipah virus," said the DOH.

Nipah virus (NiV) is a zoonotic virus, or those that can spread between animals, such as fruit bats and pigs, as well as to people.

The virus can be transmitted via direct contact with infected animals, such as bats or pigs, or their body fluids (such as blood, urine, or saliva); by consuming food products that have been contaminated by body fluids of infected animals (such as palm sap or fruit contaminated by an infected bat); and close contact with a person infected with NiV or their body fluids (including nasal or respiratory droplets, urine, or blood).

The DOH said the NiV is associated with encephalitis (swelling of the brain) and can cause mild to severe illness, and even death.

The DOH said there is only one recorded case of Nipah virus infection in the country, and was detected in Sultan Kudarat back in 2014.

Additionally, 17 suspected cases were also detected in April 2014, with eight cases having fully recovered while the other nine expired. (HDT/SunStar Philippines)


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