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India on High Alert After Nipah Virus Case Confirmed in Kerala

CC0 / / Virus
Virus - Sputnik International
Last year's outbreak of the virus had a mortality rate of 70% and claimed at least 17 lives. Currently, there is no vaccine to prevent it. It has flu-like symptoms that lead to encephalitis, or inflammation of the brain.

New Delhi (Sputnik): The first case of Nipah virus has been confirmed in the southern Indian state of Kerala after a 23-year-old man tested positive for the infection on Tuesday. The same virus claimed the lives of 17 people last year in Kerala, a coastal state in southern India. A state government source said four districts of the state are currently on high alert.

Initial reports suggest at least five people have been hospitalised in Kerala’s Ernakulam district; 27 people are under close observation in the city of Thrissur and several others have also been under observation in Kollam and Idukki regions.

READ MORE: Ebola 2.0? Hundreds in India Contract Rare Disease That Kills Most it Infects

In a media briefing, State Health Minister Shailaja said on Tuesday that of the 86 patients inspected, two had been admitted, and the two nurses who treated one of the patients have already shown the initial symptoms: a sore throat and a fever.
Medical personnel wearing protective suits check patients at the Medical College hospital in Kozhikode on May 21, 2018 - Sputnik International
India to Administer Nipah Virus Drug to Patients Without Clinical Trials
Following the confirmation that one person had contracted the Nipah virus, India’s Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan deployed a six-member team to the state for epidemiological investigation protocol and contact tracing for the early detection of suspects, testing protocols for the suspects and reviewing the isolation facilities. The The Health Ministry has deployed a team to Ernakullam from the National Institute of Virology in Pune with Monoclonal Antibodies.

The present outbreak of Nipah virus follows three earlier outbreaks reported in 2001, 2007 and 2018 in the country. The first two outbreaks were reported in the eastern state of West Bengal. Nipah has killed a total of 260 people since 1998 in Bangladesh, India, and Malaysia.

Nipah virus was first detected in a Malaysian village in 1998. Last year, the WHO appreciated Kerala’s swift response to contain Nipah. Pigs have been an intermediate host of the Nipah disease, according to the WHO, but bats are, in fact, the natural hosts of the disease.

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