The Kerala alert: drawing attention to the little-known West Nile Virus

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 The Kerala alert: drawing attention to the little-known West Nile Virus

 

There needs to be greater surveillance across India for the West Nile Virus
The death of a child in Kerala’s Malappuram district has drawn (खींचा)attention(ध्यान ) to the epidemiology(महामारी विज्ञान) of the little-known West Nile Virus in India. Though awareness(जागरूकता ) is low, the virus is endemic(स्थानिक) to several States. The first documented WNV case in Kerala was in Alappuzha in 2011, with the numbers then growing. However, official records do not reflect(विचारना/चिंतन करना)this, given the difficulty of diagnosing(निदान करना/पहचानना) WNV in its acute(विकट/कठिन ) phase(अवस्था/स्थिति) . This microbe(सूक्ष्म जीव) is serologically similar( समान ) to the Japanese Encephalitis virus, which means a go-to test, ELISA, often(अक्सर) fails to differentiate(अंतर/अलग करना) JE antibodies from WNV antibodies. More tests are typically needed to confirm WNV, and while the results appear in journals, they don’t always make it to State surveillance(निगरानी ) systems. This is why, though a 2014 Journal of Clinical Virology paper identified(पहचान ) the 2011 Alappuzha outbreak as WNV, with around six deaths, Kerala’s health department is calling the Malappuram death the State’s first. The confirmation(पुष्टि) triggered(शुरू हो रहा/रोका गया) an alert, but it doesn’t mean Kerala did not have WNV deaths before.

Nevertheless(फिर भी,/तथापि) , the alert is a welcome move. It means that State health authorities will look harder for the disease(रोग/बीमारी) . Historically, wherever Indian researchers(शोधकर्ताओं) have looked for the WNV, they have found it. The first sign of its presence(उपस्थिति/मौजूदगी) came from positive antibody tests among residents(निवासी) of Bombay in 1952. Thereafter, it began showing up in encephalitis patients in many of the places it was tested for, including(सहित) Maharashtra, Assam and Madhya Pradesh. In Malappuram too, the rapid(तीव्र/शीघ्र) diagnosis was driven by heightened surveillance(निगरानी/चौकसी) in Kerala following the 2018 Nipah outbreak. Patient samples were sent to the Manipal Centre for Virus Research, which deployed(तैनात/खोल देना) the Plaque Reduction Neutralisation Test, more specific(विशिष्ट/असामान्य) than ELISA. If more States used such diagnostics, it would help determine(निर्धारित/तय करना) just how widespread(बड़े पैमाने पर/प्रचारित ) WNV is in India. There is a good chance the virus is a significant(महत्वपूर्ण ) cause(कारण) of Acute Encephalitis Syndrome, the infamous(बदनाम ) basket(टोकरी) of illnesses(बीमारियों) with no known aetiology that affect over 10,000 Indians each year. Still, WNV rarely kills. In less than 1% of infections, the virus travels to the brain, triggering potentially(संभावित रूप) fatal encephalitis. Otherwise, it merely causes a mild flu-like illness. This could change. Viruses are known to adapt(अनुकूलन/अनुरूप होना) for both greater virulence(विषैलापन/क्रोध) and more efficient(कुशल) transmission(सौंपना/संचरण). Urbanisation(शहरीकरण) and land-use changes are bringing the virus’s zoonotic hosts, such as birds, in more frequent(लगातार ) contact with humans. Given increased(वृद्धि) mobility(गतिशीलता ), viruses can hitch a ride to new regions via infected humans and vectors. All this makes the WNV a formidable(भयंकर) foe. India’s best defence is better surveillance, which will help doctors reach patients early to prevent(रोकना) complications(उलझन/जटिलताओं) . Kerala could not prevent the death in Malappuram, but other States should adopt its model of heightened surveillance(निगरानी).

 

 

Important Vocabulary

1. Awareness(जागरूकता )
Synonyms: alertness, appreciation, attention, consciousness, experience
Antonyms: disregard, ignorance, neglect, misunderstanding, unfamiliarity

2. Acute(विकट/कठिन )
Synonyms: intense, keen, sharp, subtle, sensitive
Antonyms: blunt, calm, dull, forthright, honest

3. Reflect(विचारना/चिंतन करना)
Synonyms: echo, follow, mirror, reverse, cast
Antonyms: be original, request, take, disregard, ignore

4. Surveillance(निगरानी )
Synonyms: care, control, examination, inspection, scrutiny
Antonyms: carelessness, ignorance, neglect, negligence, indifference

5. Presence(उपस्थिति/मौजूदगी)
Synonyms: existence, being, companionship, company, habitation
Antonyms: absence, agitation, confusion, distance, distress

6.Disease(रोग/बीमारी) .
Synonyms: Cancer, bug, condition, contamination, defect
Antonyms: advantage, good health, health, ability, blessing

7. Deployed(तैनात/खोल देना)
Synonyms: expand, open, set up, use, arrange
Antonyms: conclude, end, finish, conceal, disarrange

8. Adapt(अनुकूलन/अनुरूप होना)
Synonyms: acclimate, accommodate, accustom, alter, comply
Antonyms: neglect, refuse, reject, disagree, disarrange

9. Complications(उलझन/जटिलताओं)
Synonyms: complexity, confusion, difficulty, obstacle, problem
Antonyms: advantage, calm, clarity, ease, peace

10. prevent(रोकना)
Synonyms: avert, avoid, bar, block, counter
Antonyms: advance, aid, allow, approve, assist

11. Virulence(विषैलापन/क्रोध)
Synonyms: acerbity, acrimony, animosity, animus, annoyance
Antonyms: calm, calmness, cheer, comfort, delight

12. Widespread(बड़े पैमाने पर/प्रचारित )
Synonyms: across the board, all over the place, boundless, broad, common
Antonyms: concentrated, limited, local, narrow

13. Rapid(तीव्र/शीघ्र)
Synonyms: accelerated, breakneck, brisk, expeditious, fast
Antonyms: delayed, slow, sluggish,mtardy, languishing

14. Determine(निर्धारित/तय करना)
Synonyms: complete, regulate, resolve, rule, actuate
Antonyms: bear, begin, commence, create, discourage

 

 

Credit To The Hindu News Paper

There needs to be greater surveillance across India for the West Nile Virus
The death of a child in Kerala’s Malappuram district has drawn attention to the epidemiology of the little-known West Nile Virus in India. Though awareness is low, the virus is endemic to several States. The first documented WNV case in Kerala was in Alappuzha in 2011, with the numbers then growing. However, official records do not reflect this, given the difficulty of diagnosing WNV in its acute phase. This microbe is serologically similar to the Japanese Encephalitis virus, which means a go-to test, ELISA, often fails to differentiate JE antibodies from WNV antibodies. More tests are typically needed to confirm WNV, and while the results appear in journals, they don’t always make it to State surveillance systems. This is why, though a 2014 Journal of Clinical Virology paper identified the 2011 Alappuzha outbreak as WNV, with around six deaths, Kerala’s health department is calling the Malappuram death the State’s first. The confirmation triggered an alert, but it doesn’t mean Kerala did not have WNV deaths before.

Nevertheless, the alert is a welcome move. It means that State health authorities will look harder for the disease. Historically, wherever Indian researchers have looked for the WNV, they have found it. The first sign of its presence came from positive antibody tests among residents of Bombay in 1952. Thereafter, it began showing up in encephalitis patients in many of the places it was tested for, including Maharashtra, Assam and Madhya Pradesh. In Malappuram too, the rapid diagnosis was driven by heightened surveillance in Kerala following the 2018 Nipah outbreak. Patient samples were sent to the Manipal Centre for Virus Research, which deployed the Plaque Reduction Neutralisation Test, more specific than ELISA. If more States used such diagnostics, it would help determine just how widespread WNV is in India. There is a good chance the virus is a significant cause of Acute Encephalitis Syndrome, the infamous basket of illnesses with no known aetiology that affect over 10,000 Indians each year. Still, WNV rarely kills. In less than 1% of infections, the virus travels to the brain, triggering potentially fatal encephalitis. Otherwise, it merely causes a mild flu-like illness. This could change. Viruses are known to adapt for both greater virulence and more efficient transmission. Urbanisation and land-use changes are bringing the virus’s zoonotic hosts, such as birds, in more frequent contact with humans. Given increased mobility, viruses can hitch a ride to new regions via infected humans and vectors. All this makes the WNV a formidable foe. India’s best defence is better surveillance, which will help doctors reach patients early to prevent complications. Kerala could not prevent the death in Malappuram, but other States should adopt its model of heightened surveillance.

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