I am travelling to Kerala, India, from New Zealand in June. Considering the current Nipah virus outbreak I am worried about air travel restriction, quarantine, etc.

How likely are these things to happen? What is the usual response with regard to travel when an epidemic breaks out?

  • 1
    Doesn't one of your government agencies issue warnings/give advice about travelling to individual countries? Your question What is the usual response is a bit vague - usual for/from who? – user40521 May 25 '18 at 14:15
  • Try the US State Department advisory for India. – xuq01 May 26 '18 at 5:41

I am unfamiliar with the Nipah virus, however the WHO knows a fair bit about it.

Also I found this (unofficial) link that states:

Nipah virus: Kerala govt issues travel advisory, asks visitors to avoid 4 districts

If travellers wish to be extra cautious, they may avoid visiting the districts of Kozhikode, Malappuram, Wayanad and Kannur when travelling to Kerala, the advisory says.

But back to the WHO:

See Nipah virus infection for an overview, and this fact sheet for a more detailed description.

From the fact sheet it says (in part):


Limited human to human transmission of NiV has also been reported among family and care givers of infected NiV patients. During the later outbreaks in Bangladesh and India, Nipah virus spread directly from human-to-human through close contact with people's secretions and excretions. In Siliguri, India, transmission of the virus was also reported within a health-care setting (nosocomial), where 75% of cases occurred among hospital staff or visitors. From 2001 to 2008, around half of reported cases in Bangladesh were due to human-to-human transmission through providing care to infected patients.

Signs and symptoms

The incubation period (interval from infection to the onset of symptoms) is believed to range between from 4-14 days. However an incubation period as long as 45 days has been reported.


There are currently no drugs or vaccines specific for NiV infection although this is a priority disease on the WHO R&D Blueprint. Intensive supportive care is recommended to treat severe respiratory and neurologic complications.

Reducing the risk of infection in people

In the absence of a licensed vaccine, the only way to reduce infection in people is by raising awareness of the risk factors and educating people about the measures they can take to reduce exposure to and decrease infection from NiV.

Public health educational messages should focus on the following:

  • Reducing the risk of bat-to-human transmission: Efforts to prevent transmission should first focus on decreasing bat access to date palm sap and to other fresh food products. Keeping bats away from sap collection sites with protective coverings (e.g., bamboo sap skirts) may be helpful.Freshly collected date palm juice should be boiled and fruits should be thoroughly washed and peeled before consumption.

  • Reducing the risk of animal-to-human transmission: Gloves and other protective clothing should be worn while handling sick animals or their tissues, and during slaughtering and culling procedures. As much as possible, people should avoid being in contact with infected pigs.

  • Reducing the risk of human-to-human transmission: Close unprotected physical contact with Nipah virus-infected people should
    be avoided. Regular hand washing should be carried out after caring
    for or visiting sick people.

My best guess1 is that if you are determined to be infected you will be quarantined - but that will be the least of your worries.

However I would also guess that unless you are in a farming community in the aforementioned districts you are are unlikely to be at risk.

Ultimately it is up to you whether you want to travel to Kerala and you need to assess your personal health risk. If you are concerned I would consult with a doctor experienced in travel medicine.

  1. I am not a doctor of any sort and I didn't stay in a motel 6 last night.

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