The Nipah virus claimed one more life in Kozhikode district of Kerala on Sunday, taking the overall death toll to 14. The latest victim to the outbreak was 22-year-old Abin who was being treated at Baby Memorial Hospital in the city. Meanwhile, two more confirmed cases of Nipah were reported in the state.
Earlier on Saturday, according to a report submitted by a central medical team to the Health Ministry, samples collected from bats in Kerala’s Kozhikode and Malappuram districts tested negative for the virus. A total of 21 samples, including that from seven species of bats, two species of pigs, one bovine and one caprine, were sent to the National Institute of High-Security Animal Diseases in Bhopal and the National Institute of Virology in Pune.
“These included the samples of the bats which were found in the well in a house in Kerala’s Perambra from where the initial death was reported. They have tested negative for the Nipah virus,” the official said.
To prevent the spread of the virus, alerts were sounded in Bihar, Sikkim, Karnataka, Goa and Maharashtra. Advisories urging people to take precaution against the virus were issued, asking them to monitor fever cases if anybody has a history of travel to the affected areas, for instance, to Kerala recently.
The Sikkim health department in its statement said, “Though there is a minimal possibility of Nipah virus in Sikkim, the people need to take precaution.” It advised people not to eat fruits and vegetables bitten by birds, bats and animals.
A newly-emerging zoonosis, Nipah virus (NiV) infection causes severe disease in animals and humans. The natural host of the virus are fruit bats of the Pteropodidae Family, Pteropus genus. At present, there is no vaccine or drug to treat NiV infection in humans or animals. The primary treatment for human cases is intensive supportive care.