Following the “unnatural” deaths of two people suspected to be caused by Nipah virus infection, the Kerala Health Department sounded a health alert in Kozhikode district on Monday. According to a PTI report, State Health Minister Veena George held a high-level meeting and reviewed the situation. A private hospital reported the two “unnatural” deaths had occurred after the people had suffered a fever, and it is suspected that these were due to the Nipah virus. One of the relatives of a deceased has also been admitted to the intensive care unit.
According to The Times Of India, district medical authorities said that the first suspected death was of a 49-year-old man which occurred on August 30. The second suspected death of a 40-year-old man took place on Monday. The two had suffered fever and pneumonia-like symptoms. The health authorities have sent the samples from the deceased for testing.
Surveillance For More Nipah Virus Cases
The health authorities, reportedly stated that they have conducted a fever surveillance in the area where the first fever was reported, which is till distance of about 20 kms from the house of the deceased, as per TOI.
Past Outbreaks Of Nipah Virus
The first Nipah virus (NiV) outbreak in south India was reported from Kozhikode on May 19, 2018. Around 17 lives were lost in the first outbreak which included a nurse, who had treated one of the patients. Deaths due to Nipah virus infection were reported in Kozhikode district in 2018 and 2021. In 2021, a 12-year-old boy lost his life to the virus which was the only case reported.
Nipah virus infection is a zoonotic illness, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). It is transmitted to people from animals and can also be transmitted through contaminated food or directly from person-to-person. Infected people can suffer a range of illnesses, from asymptomatic (subclinical) infection to acute respiratory illness and fatal encephalitis. There is a mortality rate of about 70 percent and so far there is no vaccine for the virus.
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