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Two Nipah Virus Deaths Confirmed in Kerala, Health Alert Issued

Relatives of one of the deceased, who had come in close contact with him, have been admitted to the ICU.

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Fit
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Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya confirmed that the two people in Kerala's Kozhikode died of Nipah virus. The two deaths, which were earlier suspected to be linked to the virus, took place within just two weeks of each other.

The state government is locating persons who have been in high-risk contact with the suspected Nipah patients, with at least 75 people on the contact list so far. The authorities have also issued a health alert for the virus in Kozhikode.

Latest developments:

  • Both deceased were men, and unrelated.

  • The patients were hospitalised for high fever, but the medical staff reportedly suspected symptoms of Nipah virus.

  • The patient died within days of being admitted.

  • Their body fluid samples have been sent to the National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune for further testing.

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Furthermore, Relatives of one of the deceased (including 3 children) that had come in close contact with him, have been admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), where they are being treated.

Beyond the headlines: This isn't the first time Kerala has reported an outbreak of Nipah virus infections, or fatalities.

Around this time last year too a 12-year-old boy had died of Nipah virus in Kozhikode.

Previously, a Nipah virus outbreak was reported in 2018, followed by another in 2019. 18 people died in 2018, but only one person died of the infection in the 2019 outbreak.

Both outbreaks were locally contained in Kerala.

But, but, but, the possibility of an outbreak in other states is just as plausible. "It depends on the movement of the infected animals," said Dr Ramanan Laxminarayan, founder of the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy in Washington DC, USA, while speaking to FIT for a previous article.

Why this matters: Nipah virus is a deadly infection and has a mortality rate of over 50 percent.

In serious cases, it can also cause encephalitis (swelling in the brain) which can lead to seizures or even a coma.

Moreover, its symptoms can be very nondescript, like fever, body ache, cough, and sore throat, and so, it can be difficult to diagnose without a test.

Relatives of one of the deceased, who had come in close contact with him, have been admitted to the ICU.

Symptoms of Nipah Virus

(Photo: FIT)

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More about Nipah virus: Here are some keypoints to know about Nipah virus, and how it spreads.

  • Nipah Virus is a zoonotic virus, which means it primarily spreads from animals to humans.

  • The virus has been found in domestic animals like pigs, horses, sheep, goats, and dogs.

In Kerala, the virus is said to spread mostly by fruit bats. These also happen to be found in the Perambra area of Kozhikode.
  • Though instances have been noted, it rarely spreads from person to person.

  • There is no licensed treatment or vaccine for the Nipah virus, other than symptom management.

Relatives of one of the deceased, who had come in close contact with him, have been admitted to the ICU.

What to do when you have Nipah Virus Infection.

(Photo: FIT)

(Written with inputs from PTI.)

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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Topics:  Health News   Nipah Virus   Nipah in Kerala 

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