Kerala Nipah outbreak HIGHLIGHTS: People advised against eating fruits lying on ground, fruit bats suspected carriers

Kerala Nipah outbreak HIGHLIGHTS: People advised against eating fruits lying on ground, fruit bats suspected carriers

A nursing assistant, Lini, who had treated the deceased, died today morning. However, doctors are yet to confirm if she had contracted the Nipah virus, which spreads through bats. Follow HIGHLIGHTS here.

Kerala Health Minister KK Shylaja during the press conference. (Express Photo by Vishnu Varma)

A high-level team from the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) arrived in Kerala’s Kozhikode on Monday after the deadly Nipah virus claimed six lives in the district. Neighbours reportedly told medical officials that they saw the three members of the family – brothers Swalih and Sabith and their paternal aunt Mariyam – consuming what looked like fruits picked up from a compound in which they are building a home on Sunday. Following the deaths, Union minister J P Nadda directed the team to visit the district to assist the state government. A nursing assistant, Lini, who had treated the deceased, died today morning. However, doctors are yet to confirm if she had contracted the virus, which spreads through bats.

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The deadly Nipah virus has claimed three lives in Kozhikode district of Kerala, spreading panic across the state. Follow this space for HIGHLIGHTS:

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No paucity of funds to battle the outbreak, assures Health Minister KK Shylaja

Nine people are under observation at the Medical College in Kozhikode. Treatment is being given to them. Isolation wards have been set up at the medical college and the local hospitals in the area if new cases come up. There is no paucity of funds and the government will do everything possible to ensure treatment for all with similar symptoms,  KK Shylaja added.

Kerala Health Minister mourns the death of nurse Lini, assures family of govt help

Minister KK Shylaja said that the death of the nurse Lini who was taking care of the infected at the taluk hospital is saddening. 'She was doing her service for the people. Her untimely passing away during that service hurts us all. The government will do everything possible to help her family,' she said

People advised not to eat fruits lying on ground as they might be contaminated

A team of doctors from AIIMS in Delhi will arrive in Kozhikode tomorrow to coordinate with the state health department and conduct further tests. People are mainly advised not to eat fruits from the ground which may have been eaten/licked by the fruit bats.

Fruit bats suspected to be the primary carriers of Nipah virus

It is suspected that fruit bats are the primary carriers of the virus in Perambra. All people, who were in primary and secondary contact, with the infected are being closely observed and if they show similar symptoms, they can be admitted to the hospital. This is the third outbreak of the virus in India after Nadia and Siliguri in West Bengal. The virus does not have a risk of extensive spread but the worrying factor is that the mortality risk (70-80%) is high, NCDC director Sujit K Singh  informed.

NCDC director visits affected region

NCDC director Sujit K Singh told reporters at the press meeting in Kozhikode that he along with the other team members visited the affected region and the household of the family in which three deaths were reported. 

#UPDATE | Three confirmed, three more suspected deaths from Nipah virus

The state government has confirmed the death toll due to Nipah virus has risen to six. Three of which have been tested and the other three are epidemiologically linked.

Two of the deaths which are epidemiologically linked have been patients who lay on beds next to the infected persons at the local hospital. Lini, the nurse who died, had treated the infected at the taluk hospital. But her case has not been tested.

Health Minister KK Shylaja, central team set to brief press on Nipah outbreak

Health minister to address press shortly

Death toll rises to six

Kozhikode district collector confirms that the death toll due to Nipah Virus has risen to six, ANI reports.

Suspected cases isolated as precautionary measure: Health minister

"We have listed the persons who have got in touch with the patients. They have been isolated as a precautionary measure," the health minister said. She added that peripheral hospitals in the vicinity of Medical college have been asked to set up isolation wards and if they have patients with symptoms of the virus, they should be directed to the medical college.

Health, labour ministers hold discussion with officials

Health Minister Shylaja and Labour Minister T P Ramakrishnan, who hails from Kozhikode, held discussions with officials and assured that the government has taken all necessary steps to prevent the spread of the virus, which has affected the state for the first time.

Nurse who treated deceased dies, doctors yet to ascertain cause

A nursing assistant, Lini, who had treated the deceased, died this morning. However, doctors are yet to confirm if she had contracted the virus, which spreads through bats.

Medical team arrives in Kerala

"The health minister has directed the constitution of a high-level team of doctors and the selected team has reached Kerala. It is being suspected that the virus is being spread by bats," a health ministry official said today. "The team comprises officials from the department of Animal Husbandry, National Institute of Immunology and Indian Council of Medical Research, among others. The ministry is in close touch with Kerala health department to monitor the situation," the official added.

Nipah outbreaks mostly between December and May

Indonesia, Thailand and Timor-Leste have identified antibodies against the virus in the bat population and the source of the virus has been isolated. Nipah cases tend to occur in a cluster or as an outbreak, although 18% of cases in Bangladesh were isolated. The outbreaks mostly occur between the period of December and May.

Can Nipah virus infection be treated?

There is no vaccine for the disease and the primary treatment is intensive supportive care, according to WHO.

In India, first outbreak in West Bengal

In India, the disease was first reported in 2001 and then in 2007. Seventy-one cases with 50 deaths were reported during the two outbreaks. Both the times, the disease was reported in areas of West Bengal bordering Bangladesh.

Morbidity and mortality rates due to Nipah or Nipah-like virus encephalitis, South-East Asia Region, 2001-2012. (Source: WHO/South East Asia)

NCDC chief Sujit Singh to lead medical team

National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) chief Sujit K Singh-led team will lead the central medical team in the state. The team will comprise of doctors from the epidemiology department, neuro-physicians, doctors from the respiratory department and animal husbandry experts.

Centre will send medical team to Kozhikode on Monday: Alphons

Minister of State for Tourism Alphons K J on Sunday said the Centre has decided to send a team of medical experts to Kozhikode to review the situation on Monday.

Reports of transmission in India, Bangladesh

In Bangladesh and India, there have been reports of possible human-to-human transmission of the disease. Therefore, precautions are necessary for hospital workers in charge of taking care of the infected patients. Precautions should also be taken when submitting and handling laboratory samples, as well as in slaughterhouses.

Symptoms: Headache, fever, vomiting, dizziness

Doctors say that airborne transmission of the virus is not possible, so only those who come in contact physically with the infected persons will get contaminated. The symptoms associated with viral fever are the same in case of Nipah virus: Headache, fever, vomiting and dizziness. The symptoms could persist for 1-2 weeks. Read here for more information.

Fruit bats carrier of Nipah virus

The Nipah virus was first detected in Malaysia in 1998, according to the World Health Organisation. The name is derived from Sungai Nipah, the village in Malaysia which had first reported the outbreak and where farmers working with pigs got infected from the animals. Doctors say fruit bats are the carriers of the virus and humans consuming fruits or vegetable half-eaten by the fruit bats could lead to spread of the virus.

Medical camps held

A medical camp was conducted in Changaroth panchayat on Sunday, where the initial deaths occurred, to assist people who may be developing symptoms of viral fever. The camp is likely to continue today as well. A control room has also been set up to disseminate information about the virus.

Don't believe in rumours on social media: Health department

The health department has asked people not to believe the rumours generated on social media platforms like WhatsApp. Health Minister KK Shylaja said he will oversee the efforts of the department in Kozhikode and Malappuram where the spread of the infection has alarmed the locals.

Four deaths in Malappuram

While seven deaths have been reported from Kozhikode, four people who showed similar symptoms of viral encephalitis have died in Malappuram, the district’s medical officer Sakeena KJ told “We cannot confirm at this point that the deaths of four persons here are due to Nipah virus. But they showed similar symptoms of viral fever and encephalitis, so it could be suspected. We are taking all precautions,” she said. The deaths have been reported from Thennala, Mungiyur and Chettiparambu panchayats.

No need to panic: Kozhikode medical officer

On Monday, Kozhikode district medical officer Jayasree V told, “We got the report from the National Institute of Virology, Pune on Sunday night, confirming Nipah virus infection in the blood samples of the three persons who had died initially. Now, four more persons who were allegedly in contact with the deceased have died at the Medical College." “Through secretions, the virus could spread from one person to another. It is a serious situation but there’s no need to panic. All those persons who were reportedly in contact with the infected are being closely monitored. We have asked the medical personnel to use all safety gear such as gloves and masks while dealing with potentially infected persons. The collector has already ordered the area around the home of the family with the initial deaths to be cordoned off,” Jayshree added, stressing that all practices to control the spread of the infection have been put in place. Read full report here.

Minister monitors safety measures

A source close to TP Ramakrishnan, the district-in-charge minister, confirmed that a medical camp is in progress in Changaroth panchayat to assist those who may be reporting symptoms such as fever, cough, and cold. He said the minister has held a round of talks with district health officials and is coordinating with the state health department in ensuring the situation is under control.

Health minister J P Nadda directs officials to oversee situation

Union Minister J P Nadda had yesterday directed the Director of National Centre for Disease Control to visit Kozhikode district to assist the state government. A central team is expected to visit the state to monitor the situation post the Union Health Minister's direction. "Reviewed the situation of deaths related to nipah virus in Kerala with Secretary Health. I have directed Director NCDC to visit the district and initiate required steps as warranted by the protocol for the disease in consultation with state government," Nadda said in a tweet.

Lok Sabha MP Mullappally Ramachandran seeks Centre's intervention

Lok Sabha MP and former Union minister Mullappally Ramachandran on Sunday sought the central government's intervention to contain the outbreak. In a letter to Union Health Minister J P Nadda, Ramachandran said some panchayats, including Kuttiyadi and Perambra, in his Lok Sabha constituency of Vatakara were in the grip of the "deadly virus." He added that some doctors have termed it as Nipah virus, while others said it was zoonotic, and that the spread is fast and fatal "The mortality rate is reportedly 70 per cent. The spread of the disease needs to be contained," he said in the letter.

25 persons hospitalised in Kozhikode

Two more deaths, allegedly due to the virus, were reported from the same region on Sunday. The deaths have triggered panic in the area, where 25 persons have been hospitalised with fever and suspected symptoms of encephalitis associated with Nipah virus. The health department has opened a control room in Kozhikode to tackle the situation.

Fluid samples sent to Pune

On Sunday, the Kerala Health Department confirmed the deaths of three persons in Kozhikode. Kerala Health Services Director Dr R L Saritha said the examination of fluid samples collected from suspected cases had confirmed the presence of encephalitis associated with Nipah virus. “We got the confirmation report from National Institute of Virology, Pune. We had sent four samples to the institute and three of them tested positive for Nipah virus,’’ she had said.

Nipah Virus kills three persons in Kozhikode

The Nipah Virus on Sunday claimed three lives in Kozhikode district of Kerala. Barely 12 hours after the deaths of the three persons were confirmed, eight more people died after showing similar symptoms in Kozhikode and Malappuram. Follow this space for LATEST UPDATES.

The virus is present in bat urine and potentially, bat faeces, saliva, and birthing fluids. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

The virus is present in bat urine and potentially, bat faeces, saliva, and birthing fluids. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

What is Nipah Virus?

Nipah Virus is an emerging infectious disease that broke out in Malaysia and Singapore in 1998 and 1999. It first appeared in domestic pigs and has been found among several species of domestic animals including dogs, cats, goats, horses and sheep. The infection is also known to affect human beings. The organism which causes Nipah Virus encephalitis is an RNA or Ribonucleic acid virus of the family Paramyxoviridae, genus Henipavirus, and is closely related to Hendra virus. Read here for more information.