Medicine

Nipah claims one more life in Kerala, death toll climbs to 13

Nipah claims one more life in Kerala, death toll climbs to 13

Two more Nipah-infected people are undergoing treatment at the intensive care unit of the Kozhikode Medical College Hospital. "But, we will know the result only by Saturday evening", the official said.

The blood and serum samples of 21 bats were then sent to the National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases in Bhopal, reported NDTV.

The infection, which has previously been reported overseas in Malaysia and Bangladesh, and at home in West Bengal, has claimed 13 lives so far in the State.

All the confirmed infections have involved people who caught the virus from the first victim while he was being treated, said microbiologist G. Arun Kumar.

The virus is spread through bodily fluids that can be passed from one creature to another. Although the test results are showing that the Nipah virus has not come from bats.

Nipah virus (NiV) infection is a newly emerging zoonosis that causes severe disease in both animals and humans.

"In the Bangladesh and India outbreaks, consumption of fruits or fruit products (e.g. raw date palm juice) contaminated with urine or saliva from infected fruit bats was the most likely source of infection", the World Health Organization explains.

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But panic has already set in, with tests having been ordered after several bats were found dead at a secondary school in the state of Himachal Pradesh.

Health Minister K K Shylaja told reporters that the authorities had collected details of people who had direct contact with the deceased persons and all of them are now under observation. The virus also spreads directly from human-to-human through close contact with people's secretions and excretions.

A majority of the deaths have been reported from Kozhikode in Kerala, while the others from nearby Malappuram district.

Meanwhile, Perambra Taluk Hospital sources said now things are slowing improving for them and they are not being isolated. The virus's host is the fruit bat, although it was first identified in pigs, which transmitted it to humans in the village of Sungai Nipah in Malaysia in 1998. Thrithala police reportedly booked Vadakanchery and Vaidyar for misleading people by ridiculing health department's claims about NiV infection.

In some cases human-to-human transmission has also been documented.

Nipah virus symptoms are not specific and include flu-like illness and hence can be confused with any respiratory illness.

Time reports that during its first outbreak in Malaysia almost 300 farmers became infected and more than 100 died.


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