The Kerala Health Department on Sunday confirmed that deadly Nipah virus has caused at least three deaths in Kozhikode. Five persons, three of them from a family, have died in the last two weeks at Changarothu village in Kozhikode district, triggering panic in the area.
Kerala Health Services Director Dr R L Saritha said examination of fluid samples collected from suspected cases has confirmed the presence of encephalitis associated with Nipah virus. “Today, 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 said.
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The pathogen has first affected the family of V Moosa, 62, a native of Changarothu village. In the past two weeks, Moosa’s two sons Swalih, 26, and Sabith died of fever. Their aunt Mariyam, 50, died on Saturday. Moosa and Swalih’s wife Athifa are battling for life with the same symptoms as the three who died. Two more deaths 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.