Mystery virus Nipah virus identified in Kerala, 9 dead, Central team on way

A rare virus Nipah hit Kerala as The Health Department of Kerala confirmed that nine people had died due to high fever in Calicut district.

The health department of the state has confirmed that two out of the nine deceased were affected with the rare Nipah virus.

The health department has, however, not confirmed the cause of the death of the other seven patients and sent their samples for tests.

A task force has also been formed to probe the matter.

On Sunday evening Kerala Health Services official confirmed that they got the confirmation report from National Institute of Virology, Pune. They had sent four samples to the institute and three of them tested positive for Nipah virus.”

Kerala Health Secretary Rajiv Sadanandan told the media that they have now got the confirmation from the National Institute of Virology, Pune.

According to reports, 25 people are being kept under observation. Nine persons are undergoing treatment for the disease and remain critical. Six persons are being treated at the Medical College hospital in Kozhikode, one at a private hospital in Kozhikode and Kochi.

Reports say Union Minister J P Nadda directed the Director of National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to visit Kozhikode district to assist the state government.

“Reviewed the situation of deaths related to nipah virus in Kerala with Secretary Health. I have directed Director NCDC to visit the district and initiate required steps as warranted by the protocol for the disease in consultation with state government,” J P Nadda said in a tweet.

Know more about the mysterious virus Nipah:

Nipah virus (NiV) infection is a newly emerging zoonosis that causes severe disease in both animals and humans. The natural host of the virus are fruit bats of the Pteropodidae Family, Pteropus genus.

NiV was first identified during an outbreak of disease that took place in Kampung Sungai Nipah, Malaysia in 1998. On this occasion, pigs were the intermediate hosts. However, in subsequent NiV outbreaks, there were no intermediate hosts. In Bangladesh in 2004, humans became infected with NiV as a result of consuming date palm sap that had been contaminated by infected fruit bats. Human-to-human transmission has also been documented, including in a hospital setting in India.

NiV infection in humans has a range of clinical presentations, from asymptomatic infection to acute respiratory syndrome and fatal encephalitis. NiV is also capable of causing disease in pigs and other domestic animals. There is no vaccine for either humans or animals. The primary treatment for human cases is intensive supportive care.