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September 2023

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Nipah Virus Unveiled: Dr. Gangakhedkar’s Eye-Opening Revelation

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In an exclusive interview with News18, Dr. Raman Gangakhedkar, a renowned epidemiologist who played a pivotal role in managing three previous Nipah virus outbreaks in Kerala, has expressed serious concerns about the Bangladesh strain of the virus. Dr. Gangakhedkar emphasized the critical need to identify the virus’s source to prevent its further spread. His top priorities include locating the index patient, uncovering the virus’s origin, conducting thorough animal testing, mobilizing the community, and ensuring medical resources are prepared.

This particular strain of the Nipah virus, currently circulating in Kerala, presents alarming characteristics. Initial symptoms include severe breathlessness, and shockingly, it claims the lives of approximately 90% of infected individuals, in stark contrast to the Malaysian strain, which primarily manifests neurological symptoms. In the first outbreak, 89% of the 23 infected patients tragically lost their lives.

Dr. Gangakhedkar likened the process of solving the Nipah virus mystery to a complex crime thriller or jigsaw puzzle. Drawing from his experience in 2018, he recounted successfully unravelling the puzzle within 15 days. Their investigation involved tracking down the index patient, tracing the virus’s origin, establishing the chain of events leading to the index patient, and identifying all individuals in contact with the index patient.

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