At least ten people have died of a disease caused by a virus found in fruit bats in the southern Indian state of Kerala, a senior functionary of the state said today.
The virus called Nipah has so far claimed 10 lives in Kozhikode and Malappuram districts in northern part of Kerala while the condition of two persons undergoing treatment for the viral disease is said to be critical, Kerala Health Minister K K Shylaja told reporters in Thiruvananthapuram, the state’s capital city.
Two persons, who were undergoing treatment in Kozhikode, died this morning and they have been confirmed to have contracted the virus, our New Delhi correspondent reports quoting Shylaja.
A lady nursing assistant, who treated some Nipa patients, died yesterday, Shylaja added.
Two women died on May 20 in Malappuram and both tested positive for Nipah virus, she said adding the duo had come to Kozhikode Medical College Hospital for treatment and had been in touch with one of the infected persons who died of the virus said.
Of the 18 samples sent for testing, 12 have tested positive for the virus, of whom 10 people have died, according to the Health Minister.
Shylaja said no fresh case has, however, been reported so far. The WHO has been informed about the outbreak.
There is no vaccination for Nipah which has killed more than 260 people in Malaysia, Bangladesh and India in since the virus was first detected in the South East Asian country in 1998. The virus induces flu-like symptoms that lead to an agonising encephalitis and coma.
A team of doctors from India’s National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), including its Director Dr Sujeet Kumar Singh and Head of Epidemiology Department Dr S K Jain, are already in Kerala to monitor the situation arising out of Nipah outbreak.
A high-level team from New Delhi’s All India Institute of Medical Sciences has also reached Kerala, she said.