Ten persons have so far lost their lives to the Nipah virus in the northern Kerala districts of Kozhikode and Malappuram, health department sources said. They said two more persons, who are suspected to contracted got the virus, have died. However it was yet to be confirmed if their deaths were due to Nipah, they said. The condition of Moosa, whose two sons had died earlier, is very critical and he was on ventilator support, while another person, undergoing treatment for nipha, was responding to treatment as of now, the sources told PTI. Of Moosa’s two sons, samples of only one could be sent for testing and it tested positive for the virus, they said.
Another woman from the family had also died of the virus. A total of 116 persons, who had come in contact with the some of the infected persons, have been put under quarantine–94 in their homes and 22 in various hospitals, the sources said. A 21-year-old student hailing from Malappuram, who had gone to his hometown kozhikode recently, is under observation at the Thiruvananthapuram Medical college hospital.
One person is under observation in Waynad. Kerala Health minister K K Shylaja had told reporters earlier in the day that 10 deaths were due to the nipha virus and that the World Health Organisation (WHO) has been informed about the outbreak of the virus in Kerala. Union Health Minister J P Nadda said the Centre was committed to extend all support to the state to tackle the problem. Two persons, who had tested positive, had died today.
Twenty-eight year-old nurse Lini, who passed away yesterday, had also contracted the virus, the minister added. Meanwhile,Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the state government was taking all steps to control Nipah virus. “Precautions have to be taken and there is need to be vigilant. There is no need to panic’,he said in a Facebook post.
The Chief Minister said it had come to his notice that there was a campaign in the social media with regard to the virus, which was causing panic. This was unfortunate, he said and requested everyone to keep away from such campaigns, which would not only create panic, but was also against Kerala’s interests.
Health Minister K K Shylaja said of the 18 samples sent for testing, 12 tested positive for the virus, of which 10 people died. Seven deaths were reported from Kozhikode and three from Malappuram districts, she said. Shylaja said union Health minister, J P Nadda, who is in Geneva, had called her and enquired about the situation in the state and has promised all help from the central government.
An expert team from the National Centre for Disease -Control (NCDC), including its director, Dr Sujeet Kumar Singh and Head of Epidemiology, Dr S K Jain, are already in Kerala. A high-level team from All India Insitute of Medical Sciences, Delhi, visited Kozhikode Medical college today and gave doctors a protocol to be followed, the minister said.
Surveillance has been increased in all districts. The outbreak of the virus is suspected to be from an unused well which was infested with bats and belonged to the Moosa family. Nipah virus (NiV) infection is a newly emerging zoonosis that causes severe disease in both animals and humans. The natural host of the virus are fruit bats of the Pteropodidae family, Pteropus genus.