Nipah claims another victim in India, death toll now 13


How is Nipah virus transmitted? A total of 21 samples, including that from seven species of bats, two species of pigs, one bovine and one caprine, were sent to the National Institute of High-Security Animal Diseases in Bhopal and the National Institute of Virology in Pune. The latest victim of the NiV virus has been identified as Ebin, who was in his early 20s. Authorities have now made a decision to conduct more tests to locate its source.

Along with Zika virus and Ebola virus, Nipah virus is also included on the priority list of emerging diseases in the world which can even cause the global pandemic, according to WorldHealth Organisation. However, Bihar reports encephalitis cases every summer, and as one of the reasons of death from Nipah is brain fever - also a symptom of encephalitis - the state health society has made a decision to keep track.

A videoconference was held on Friday in which Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme officials at the state health society were issued instructions by the Centre in view of the Nipah virus spread in Kerala. In regard to the current outbreak, authorities are testing local livestock and food, as well as the fruits of a mango tree in the home of a family that lost four members to the virus, to see if the fruits have been bitten and infected by bats.

Though the Nipah virus may not have spread beyond Kerala, the health department has put as many as 175 persons under observation.

"Mohap alerts the people travelling to Kerala to be aware of possibility of contracting the infection and advises them to postpone unnecessary travel till the situation will be controlled", it added.

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The outbreak of.deadly virus has not spread beyond two areas in south India, officials said, but they have issued a series of warnings to people living in the stricken towns.

DME Dr K Ramesh Reddy urged the public not to get carried away by unconfirmed reports of Nipah infection making rounds in social media. Until this fortnight, there had been one known outbreak of the infection in Malaysia in 1998, two in West Bengal - Siliguri in 2001 and Nadia in 2007 - and several in Bangladesh since 2001.

It said that Nipah symptoms are not specific and include flu-like illness and hence can be confused with any respiratory illness. Human-to-human transmission has also been documented.

After Lini's death, the hospital staff, especially nurses, were in a state of shock and they had been counselled by doctors of Kozhikode Medical College Hospital, the source told PTI.