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More Than 700 people tested for Nipah virus after 2 deaths in India

More Than 700 people tested for Nipah virus after 2 deaths in India
Photo: Online

Nipah virus outbreak in Kerala: State Chief Minister orders shutdown of schools & public services.

2 adults and a child remain infected in the hospital, while over 700 people are being tested for the virus, which spreads via contact with bodily fluids of infected bats, pigs or people.

The virus spread was checked through tests of 706 people, including 153 health workers, stated the state government on Wednesday evening. Results were awaited.

Chief Minister of Kerala Pinarayi Vijayan announced additional testing for the public while ensuring accessible isolation facilities are in place. People were asked by him to avoid public gatherings in the Kozhikode district for 10 days.

A consequence of the latest outbreak starting Aug. 30 in Kerala is that at least eight Kozhikode villages now host designated containment zones with two deaths reported since then; both individuals were victims of the spreading virus.

Health Minister Veena George tells reporters that they are focused on identifying and isolating infected individuals with an early presence of symptoms.

The virus detected in Kerala is the same as one found earlier in Bangladesh, a strain that spreads from human to human with a high mortality rate but has a history of being less infectious, according to her.

She highlighted how limited mobility in some areas of the state would help slow down the spread of illnesses. Epidemiologists have started administering drugs like monoclonal antibodies and antivirals for three patients who tested positive for the virus; one of them is a medical professional.

Due to strict isolation rules, medical staff is quarantined if they come into contact with the infected. A small landholder growing bananas and areca nuts in the village of Maruthonkara was the first victim, according to a government official.

The victim's daughter and brother-in-law, who were infected, are in an isolation ward.

Anonymous source mentioned that two deaths were not related; second person died after contacting with first victim in hospital.

The Nipah virus emerged in 1999 as a consequence of a zoonotic outbreak among pig farmers and their contacts with animals in Malaysia and Singapore.

Outbreaks are sporadic and past episodes of infection in South Asia were caused by the ingestion of date-palm sap that had been contaminated with bat waste products.

The first victim hails from Maruthonkara, a village close by to a huge 300-acre forest densely populated with bats. Fruit bats in the same region tested positive for the virus during the 2018 Nipah outbreak.

In Kerala's first Nipah outbreak, 21 people out of the 23 infected died. Both the outbreak in 2019 and in 2021 took away two lives.

Travellers coming from Kerala to Tamil Nadu state will face medical tests for flu symptoms and isolation for the infected.
According to a Reuters investigation in May, Kerala is one of the places most susceptible worldwide to outbreaks of bat viruses due to factors like deforestation and increased contact between people and wildlife.

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