Nipah Virus: Death toll rises to 14

29 May, 2018, 07:15 | Author: Earnest Huff
  • The deadly virus has killed at least three people in southern India officials said Monday with medical teams dispatched to the area amid reports that up to six other people could have died from the disease and others are ill. (AP

At least 10 people have died as a result of an outbreak of the Nipah virus, India's Kerala state Health Minister K.K. Shylaja said.

The outbreak of the virus infection, which is a zoonosis that causes severe disease in both animals and humans, is suspected to be from an unused well which was infested with bats and belonged to the Moosa family.

The Ministry had yesterday asked people not to "panic" saying the outbreak was "unlikely" to spread further as early and efficient containment measures were being taken.

Extending a helping hand to the family of nurse Lini Puthussery, who died after contracting Nipah from her patients, the Kerala government on Wednesday chose to give a government job to her husband and Rs 10 lakh each to two of their children.

About 160 samples have been sent for testing at the virology institute and 13 cases have been found to be positive, she said.

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

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The health department also advised people to avoid consuming fruits that are half-eaten by bats or birds. The infection presents as an encephalitic syndrome marked by fever, headache, drowsiness, disorientation, mental confusion, coma, and potentially death.

The 26-year-old Lini Puthussery, a nurse who died while treating persons infected by Nipah virus, worked at the Perambra health centre. Many have left their homes and have proceeded to kin's residences at distant locations as the Nipah fever have already claimed 11 lives in Kozhikode and adjoining Malappuram district.

Shailaja, the health minister in Kerala, said those who have been in contact with the victims have been put into quarantine. Fruit bats are the natural host of the virus belonging to Pteropodidae family.

Medics wearing protective gear examine a patient at a hospital in Kozhikode in the southern state of Kerala, India May 21, 2018.

- Nipah was first identified in 1999 when pig farmers in Malaysia and Singapore became very sick, according to Time magazine.

There is now no vaccine for the disease. Eating food which may have the droplets of saliva of infected bats can lead to the transmission of the virus. Treatment for the virus, which has a mortality rate of about 70 percent, is supportive care.

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