DOH: No presence of Nipah virus in Philippines

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DOH: No presence of Nipah virus in Philippines
A health worker carries a box containing samples to Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) Nipah virus mobile testing facility at a government hospital in Kozhikode in south Indian state of Kerala on September 15, 2023. India has curbed public gatherings and shut some schools in the southern state of Kerala after two people died of Nipah, a virus from bats or pigs that causes deadly fever. The virus has no vaccine and a fatality rate ranging from 40 to 75 percent, according to the World Health Organization.

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health has confirmed that there are no cases of Nipah virus in the Philippines amid increasing reports of flu-like illnesses in Cagayan de Oro.

"The DOH officially maintains that there are no Nipah virus cases in the nation," DOH Northern Mindanao office said in a statement Wednesday.

The regional office issued the statement in response to reports that faculty members and students in some Cagayan de Oro schools have been allegedly infected with Nipah virus.

Some schools in Cagayan de Oro City suspended classes due to a rise in the number of people with flu-like symptoms.

"Although there have been instances of both faculty and students here in Cagayan de Oro who are exhibiting the signs and symptoms of the viral illness, it is not yet clear whether a particular virus is to blame," DOH Northern Mindanao said.

The DOH urged the public to practice handwashing, wear face masks, ensure proper ventilation, and isolate if symptomatic.

"If you experience symptoms like fever, cough, headache, joint pain, vomiting, and sore throat, visit the closest healthcare facility, seek consultation, and do not self-medicate," it said.

The state of Kerala in India is racing to contain a new outbreak of Nipah virus, which has killed two people so far and infected five.

Nipah usually spreads to humans from animals or through contaminated food, but it can also be transmitted directly between people.

Patients have a mortality rate of between 40 and 75 percent depending on the public health response to the virus, according to the World Health Organization.

Symptoms include intense fever, vomiting and a respiratory infection, but severe cases can involve seizures and brain inflammation that results in a coma. — with a report from Agence France-Presse

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