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India Beats Nipah Virus, Creates A Music Video To Celebrate

Jul 02, 2018 01:45 AM EDT
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India had a scary brush with the deadly Nipah virus in May, but now the encounter is over and it's celebration time.

Celebrations include a Bollywood-style music video, of course.

A Nipah Outbreak In India

Transmitted from animals to humans or humans to humans, Nipah virus in humans range from asymptomatic infection to acute respiratory infection to fatal encephalitis, according to World Health Organization. An infected person's health can deteriorate very quickly into a coma in severe cases.

The case fatality rate is estimated to be 40 to 75 percent. There is currently no vaccine or treatment available for the Nipah virus infection, only supportive care. However, WHO has listed it as one of the priority diseases.

In India, a country with 1.3 billion citizens, the virus first popped up in the small village of Soopikada in the country's Changaroth region, according to Dr. R. Gopakumar of the Kozhikode Municipal Corporation in a report from NPR. This small village is only 28 miles from Kozhikode, which is the third largest city in South India's Kerala state.

Muhammad Salih, 28, and Muhammad Sabith, 26, were the first ones infected. The two brothers cleaned a bat-infested well in the family's newly acquired property in Soopikada, then fell sick soon after the activity. The pair died within weeks of each other in May.

A total of 17 people died of Nipah virus, the last being on May 30. Two of the 19 cases were able to recover.

During the outbreak, the streets in the state largely stayed empty as people opted to stay indoors and classes were even canceled. No one bought fruit out of fear that an infected bat might have gotten to it.

India has had two other Nipah outbreaks: one in 2001 and another in 2007.

Marking The End With Singing, Dancing

Statewide monitoring for Nipah came to an end in June 30, but Kerala's Minister for Health K.K. Shylaja declared the state Nipah-free on June 10. To mark the occasion, musicians and filmmakers came together to make a celebratory music video.

The video, titled "Bye Bye Nipah," sought to put the terror of the virus behind the country.

"The song was an effort to reclaim and celebrate our public spaces after the threat of the epidemic almost shut the city down in fear," A. Shaji Kumar, the writer of the lyrics, tells NPR. "We wanted to honor the effort and sacrifice of our healthcare professionals as well."

Watch the video below.

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