The Ministry of Health and Population has urged the public to remain alert about the possible risk of Nipah Virus infection after its outbreak was reported in neighbouring India.

Ministry Spokesperson Dr Krishna Prasad Poudel said in a press statement today that the risk of the virus outbreak and spread in Nepal could not be ruled out as Nepal and India shared open border. The infection of the deadly NIV, which is transmitted to humans from animals and then from humans to human, causing serious illness, has now been detected in Kerala State of India.

According to him, though the virus has so far been not detected in the country, the risk remains high. Fruit bat is the natural host for the virus and it is transmitted to pigs, cattle and then to humans.

Nipah Virus infection is a zoonotic illness that is transmitted to people from animals, and can also be transmitted through contaminated food or directly from person-to-person, according to the World Health Organisation.

A version of this article appears in the print on September 14 2021, of The Himalayan Times.