Nipah virus kills one more in Kerala, public meetings banned

Nipah virus kills one more in Kerala, public meetings banned

In southern Kerala, at least 11 people have died because of a minor Nipah virus outbreak that has also caused 25 others to become hospitalized.

The first death from the disease was reported on Friday, with health officials traced back to a well infested with diseased bats.

The first fatal cases in Kerala were reported on Saturday from a family in Kozhikode, as two brothers in their late 20s and their 50-year-old aunt died from the virus. "Without laboratory reports it can not be said that these bats have been killed by Nipah virus", Choubey said, adding that he has already spoken to the Himachal Pradesh administration over the matter.

According to the World Health Organization, the fruit bat is the natural host of the virus and often do not display any symptoms. "People have been advised to keep distance from bats and pigs". Reports state that the virus can spread from one infected individual to a healthy person. For instance, the 2004 outbreak in Bangladesh happened when the victims consumed raw date palm sap that had also been sipped by infected bats. There are many patients who show neurological, respiratory and pulmonary signs as well.

To discuss issues relating to outbreak of the virus, an all-party meeting has also been called at the Kozhikode collectorate tomorrow in which representatives of political parties, MPs and MLAs will participate.

The Commerce Ministry has said it is monitoring the outbreak and will asses if the virus will bear implications for the country's fruit exports. This is because the persons who got down the well didn't get the disease and those who fell sick had not got into the well.

Still, Nipah remains a relatively rare tropical disease - like Ebola - which severely limits the incentive for drug companies to invest in vaccines or drugs. The awareness is being done to prevent the disease from spreading further, especially to those at high risk.

Although the number of patients coming for treatment with symptoms of Nipah virus infection has gone down, Kozhikode Collector U.V. Jose has banned till May 31 all public meetings and even training courses, including tuitions, to avoid assembly of people. The Virus Research Diagnostic Laboratory at Manipal Hospital and the National Institute of Virology have been asked to meet the diagnostic challenges. So far, it is believed that the two known strains of Nipah virus are both not easily transmitted.

Related Articles