Kerala Nipah outbreak: Viral fever claims 10 lives, two others critical
The Nipah virus has so far claimed 10 lives in Kozhikode and Malappuram districts in north Kerala while the condition of two persons undergoing treatment for the viral disease is said to be critical.
Kerala Health Minister K K Shylaja said the World Health Organisation (WHO) has been informed about the outbreak of the virus in Kerala.
"As of now, we have test results of 18 samples. 12 of them have been tested positive for Nipah Virus. 10 of them have already died. 2 of them are in critical condition. No new cases have been reported in the last 24 hours" said the minister.
Of the 18 samples sent for testing, 12 have tested positive for the virus, of which 10 people have died.Two deaths reported on May 20 from Malappuram - Sindhu and Sijitha, have tested positive for Nipah virus.
The two had come to Kozhikode Medical College Hospital for treatment and had been in touch with one of the infected persons who had died of the virus, the minister said, adding that no fresh case has been reported so far.
Considering the seriousness of the situation, the Centre on Monday rushed a high-level team from the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), including its director, Dr Sujeet Kumar Singh and Head of Epidemiology, Dr SK Jain. The team is expected to conduct a field visit to the hospitals and affected areas of Perambra village.
Taking stock of the situation, Dr Sujeet Kumar Singh said that there was no need for people to panic. He also added that the state health department has taken all precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the virus.
Union Health Minister JP Nadda is also in close touch with the Kerala Health department. "We are closely monitoring the situation. I have spoken to Tourism Minister K J Alphons and Kerala Health Minister K K Shailaja and assured them all support of the Central government," Union Health Minister J P Nadda said in a statement from Geneva Monday.
Kerala has been put on high alert after the rare Nipah virus claimed six lives in the state. More deaths with similar symptoms have been reported from the state and the authorities have sent the sample for tests. Also referred to as NiV, the infection spreads through fruit bats.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan is also closely monitoring the situation. "All efforts are also being made to ensure that more lives are not lost," Vijayan said, adding that the government was handling the issue with 'utmost seriousness.'
As per a report on WHO website, Nipah is a newly emerging virus, which gets transferred from animals to humans, and it causes severe disease in both animals as well as humans. The natural host of the virus are fruit bats of the "Pteropodidae Family, Pteropus genus".