Bat-Transmitted Virus Kills 12-Year-Old in India, 20 Others Under Observation
11:47 GMT 05.09.2021 (Updated: 12:25 GMT 14.02.2023)
The first recognised outbreak of the Nipah virus, a fatal zoonotic illness, was registered on pig farms in Malaysia in the late 1990s. In India, Nipah outbreaks were reported in West Bengal state in 2001 and 2007 and twice in Kerala, in 2018 and 2019.
A 12-year-old boy died of the Nipah virus in the Indian state of Kerala on Sunday, state health minister Veena George confirmed.
According to the state minister, twenty others who may have interacted with the deceased are under observation. Kozhikode, Malappuram and Kannur districts in the state have been put on high alert.
“Three samples – plasma, CSF and serum – were found infected. [The deceased] was admitted to the hospital with a heavy fever four days ago. But on Saturday, his condition became worse. We had sent his samples for testing the day before yesterday,” the health minister said, adding “we have identified 188 contacts till now. The surveillance team have marked 20 of them as high-risk contacts. Two of these high-risk contacts have symptoms. Both are health workers."
She said all the 20 high-risk contacts would be shifted to the Kozhikode Medical College, while others were asked to remain in isolation.
The federal government has sent a National Centre for Disease Control team to Kerala that will provide technical support to the state.
The highly contagious Nipah virus (NiV), which causes fatal brain inflammation or respiratory disease in humans, has been found in bat samples in India, The Indian Express reported, citing a cross-sectional survey by the Indian Council of Medical Research and the National Institute of Virology. The Nipah virus is spread by the saliva of fruit bats.