Indian News

Kerala on Alert as Nipah Virus Claims Two Lives, Central Team Dispatched

Kerala, a state in India, has reported four cases of the Nipah virus, a highly contagious and often deadly virus that affects both humans and animals. Unfortunately, two of the infected individuals have succumbed to the infection, according to the state health minister, Veena George.

The recent deaths, described as “unnatural,” occurred in Kozhikode district. Samples were sent to the National Institute of Virology in Pune, and three out of five samples tested positive for the Nipah virus. This includes one of the deceased individuals and two others currently undergoing treatment, one of whom is a nine-year-old boy.

The first victim, who passed away on August 30, had underlying health conditions, including liver sclerosis. Initially, his death was attributed to complications from these comorbidities. However, when his relatives and close contacts exhibited unusual symptoms like a high fever, health authorities initiated surveillance for potential infectious diseases, leading to the discovery of the Nipah virus.

This marks the fourth outbreak of Nipah in Kerala since 2018. In the initial outbreak, 21 out of 23 infected individuals lost their lives. Subsequent outbreaks in 2019 and 2021 claimed two more lives.

The Nipah virus is primarily transmitted to humans through direct contact with the bodily fluids of infected bats, pigs, or other infected individuals. It was first identified in 1999 during outbreaks affecting pig farmers in Malaysia and Singapore.

Currently, there are no specific treatments or vaccines available for Nipah, making preventive measures and early detection crucial to managing its spread.

In response to the situation, a central team of experts has been dispatched to Kerala by the Union health minister to assist the state government in handling the outbreak. Precautionary guidelines have also been issued by the health ministry.

Kerala’s Chief Minister, Pinarayi Vijayan, assured the public that those who were in close contact with the deceased individuals are being identified and treated. He emphasized the importance of vigilance and urged everyone to cooperate with the health department’s action plan to mitigate the situation.

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