Airport security trays carry more diseases than toilets. The plastic trays that passengers put their hand luggage in at airport security checkpoints harbour the highest levels of viruses, even more than toilets, a study warns. Researchers from the University of Nottingham in the UK swabbed a variety of surfaces at Helsinki-Vantaa airport in Finland during the winter of 2016. They set out to identify and quantify the respiratory viruses on frequently touched surfaces in airports. The team found evidence of viruses on 10 per cent of the surfaces tested and most commonly on the plastic trays that are circulated along the passenger queue at the hand luggage X-ray checkpoint. The study, published in the journal BMC Infectious Diseases, concludes that hand washing and careful coughing hygiene are crucial to the control of contagious infections in public areas with high volumes of people passing through. The findings add weight to previous studies showing that microbes are commonly found on surfaces in public transport vehicles and will strengthen public health advice in preparation for future flu pandemics, researchers said. Airport security trays carry more diseases than toilets. The highest concentration of viruses was detected on the security check plastic trays with further viruses detected on shop payment terminals, staircase rails, passport checking counters, children’s play areas and in the air. The most common virus found in the survey was rhinovirus, which causes the common cold but the swabs also picked up the influenza A virus, researchers said. Interestingly, no respiratory viruses were found on toilet surfaces, they said.
The National Virology Institute, Pune, confirmed that the contagious fever that has killed several people in Kozhikode and Malappuram districts over the last fortnight is due to Nipah virus ( NiV). Six more people succumbed to symptoms suspected to be that of Nipah virus on Sunday.
It is the first detection in Kerala of the Nipah virus which has a high fatality rate and spreads mainly through bats, pigs and other animals. Its symptoms include fever, vomiting, headache, drowsiness, coma and respiratory problems.
Virus has an incubation period of 4 to 18 days. Health workers need to take the highest level of protection while handling patients. No specific treatment is available but intensive care support is required.
Origion and History of initial identification:
Nipah virus (NiV) is a member of the family Paramyxoviridae, genus Henipavirus. NiV was initially isolated and identified in 1999 during an outbreak of encephalitis and respiratory illness among pig farmers and people with close contact with pigs in Malaysia and Singapore. Its name originated from Sungai Nipah, a village in the Malaysian Peninsula where pig farmers became ill with encephalitis. Given the relatedness of NiV to Hendra virus, bat species were quickly singled out for investigation and flying foxes of the genus Pteropus were subsequently identified as the reservoir for NiV .
In the 1999 outbreak, Nipah virus caused a relatively mild disease in pigs, but nearly 300 human cases with over 100 deaths were reported. In order to stop the outbreak, more than a million pigs were euthanized, causing tremendous trade loss for Malaysia. Since this outbreak, no subsequent cases (in neither swine nor human) have been reported in either Malaysia or Singapore.
In 2001, NiV was again identified as the causative agent in an outbreak of human disease occurring in Bangladesh. Genetic sequencing confirmed this virus as Nipah virus, but a strain different from the one identified in 1999. In the same year, another outbreak was identified retrospectively in Siliguri, India with reports of person-to-person transmission in hospital settings (nosocomial transmission). Unlike the Malaysian NiV outbreak, outbreaks occur almost annually in Bangladesh and have been reported several times in India.
Symptoms and investigation
Nipah virus’s (NiV) symptoms in humans are similar to viral fever such as fever, headache and muscle pain. Perhaps, these symptoms should be taken seriously as they were a part of rare viral fever – identified as the Nipah virus (NiV) – that claimed lives in Kerala.
NiV infection is associated with encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) and can lead to disorientation and mental confusion, or coma in some cases – encephalitis may present as acute or late onset. While the later may be difficult to diagnose, those who may have recovered from an acute episode may also have a relapse.
Since the symptoms of Nipah virus are similar to that of influenza, it can be difficult to determine whether the person is affected by NiV based on symptoms alone. According to WHO, procedures for laboratory diagnosis of Nipah virus include a series of tests – serology, histopathology, PCR and virus isolation. Serum Neutralization Test, ELISA, RT-PCR are used for laboratory confirmation. Also, magnetic resonance of the brain can help differentiate Nipah encephalitis from other encephalitis as well as in defining between acute and late-onset or a relapsed form of the disease.
Prevention and control
Till date, there is no effective vaccine for Nipah virus disease, treatment is mostly focused on managing fever and the neurological symptoms. Ribavarin may help alleviate the symptoms of nausea, vomiting, and convulsions. Severely ill patients require hospitalisation and may require the use of a ventilator. Therapeutics and vaccine are said to be under development.
Adopting standard infection control practices is vital in preventing the spread of person-to-person transmission of the disease. As the main strategy is to prevent NiV in humans, establishing appropriate surveillance systems is necessary to detect the disease outbreaks quickly so that appropriate control measures are initiated in time.
Research is needed to better understand the ecology of bats and Nipah virus, investigating questions such as the seasonality of disease within reproductive cycles of bats. Surveillance tools should include reliable laboratory assays for early detection of disease in communities and livestock, and raising awareness of transmission and symptoms is important in reinforcing standard infection control practices to avoid human-to-human infections in hospital settings (nosocomial infection).
A subunit vaccine, using the Hendra G protein, produces cross-protective antibodies against HENV and NIPV has been recently used in Australia to protect horses against Hendra virus. This vaccine offers great potential for henipavirus protection in humans as well.
I truly admire and applaud Mr Narender Modi, Hon’able Prime Minister for drawing attention of 100 billion people to the issue of cleanliness outside their homes. No one had ever thought that a Prime minister would refer to this so called trivial issue and make a heartfelt appeal to people. Lot of public interest has now been generated and there is a race among public officials to get their area declared as free from open defaecation. Even celebrities and movie actors like Amitabh Bachchan, Akshay Kumar have backed this cause. All these efforts are really appreciable, but the prime credit still goes to Modiji who spearheaded this movement.
But there is still a serious issue, which is a stumbling block to the realisation of a ‘Swatch Bharat’ dream and remains unattended. I want to draw attention of everyone towards the problem of animal poo in our country. It is all around us. It is an obstacle to fulfilment of Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan and a pan-Indian problem. It is actually even a bigger health problem than open defecation by humans. Humans defecate in country side and in open fields. But stray animals and dogs are everywhere. Owner of pet dogs make them defecate outside their own houses and on the roads and wherever their dogs chooses. This poop dried and mixed with dust, acts a source of infection to the community.
| Life threatening infections : As a doctor, I would like to bring to your notice that dog’s and animal faeces is a big health hazard. It is even worse than a dog bite since it spreads infection in entire community. A dog’s digestive system can handle just about anything that it eats and this makes its poop very toxic. Animal faeces contain pathogens, which are known to cause severe diseases, infections and organ failure. These heavy loads of bacteria increase the risk of infections in the community. But pregnant women, children and people with suppressed immune systems may are more prone to these infectionsMany diseases may be spread by millions of these dogs and other animals like pigs, cattle as their faeces contain parasites, bacteria and viruses. These include life threatening bacterial infections by E. coli, MRSA, Leptospira, Salmonellosis, Campylobacteriosis, brucellosis, Rickettsia and parasitic infections like Giardiasis, Whipworm, Hookworm, Roundworms, Tapeworms, Cryptosporidiosis, Echinococcosis, Leishmaniasis etc. Viral infections like rabies, influenza and other viruses may also spread through these animals.
Environmental health Hazard: Storm water runoff due to extensive rainfall can wash off all these droppings into drains, many of which are connected to river systems and water sources in our country. This can lead to a widespread source of waterborne illnesses. Dry poop on the roads is mixed with dust particles and in the air. So everyone is living in a highly infectious environment. This may be an important cause of high rates of community acquired infections among our population.
Transform health of the country: Hence it should be mandatory that all the dog and animal (stray or pet) droppings are properly collected and disposed off. This single step can do wonders as it will reduce infections, people’s suffering and eventually reduce use of antibiotics. It can help reduce mortality, morbidity, drug resistance and medical costs by preventing many infections. It is my request to highest authorities to create awareness, form policies about disposal and control of animal waste and implement them strictly to bring a turnaround in infection rates in our country.
It is missing key component TOWARDS A SWACHH BHARAT. My request is to create awareness and form proper policies by higher authorities to cure millions and reduce infections in whole country.
If you agree please sign the petition