Nipah alert sounded in Kerala after two ‘unnatural’ deaths: All you need to know
The first-ever Nipah virus outbreak in south India was reported from Kozhikode and Malappuram districts in 2018.
The Kerala health department on Monday night sounded a health alert in Kozhikode after two people who died due to “unnatural” deaths in the district were suspected to have been infected with the Nipah virus (NiV). According to state health minister Veena George, the relatives of one of the deceased are also admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), reported news agency PTI.
The two deceased were admitted at a private hospital in the Kozhikode district, said reports.
Also read: Kerala teen dies of rare infection caused by 'brain eating amoeba': Know all about the disease
Earlier on Monday, the state health minister held a high-level meeting and reviewed the situation in the district.
All you need to know about the Nipah virus and the outbreak in Kerala:
- The first-ever Nipah virus outbreak in south India was reported from Kozhikode and Malappuram districts in 2018. The district has since witnessed another massive outbreak in 2021.
- According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Nipah virus infection is a zoonotic illness that is transmitted via animals to humans, and can also be transmitted via contaminated food or directly between people and is caused by fruit bats. The virus is not only fatal for humans, but for animals as well. The virus can also cause severe disease in animals such as pigs, resulting in significant economic losses for farmers, WHO said.
- Although the Nipah virus has caused only a few known outbreaks in Asia, it infects a wide range of animals and causes severe disease and death in people, the WHO said on its website.
- Those infected with the virus can encounter severe problems like acute respiratory illness and fatal encephalitis. The symptoms of the Nipah virus are similar to Covid-19 - cough, sore throat, dizziness, drowsiness, muscle pain, tiredness, encephalitis (swelling of the brain), headache, stiff neck, sensitivity to light, mental confusion, and seizures.
- While there is no definitive treatment available for the virus, one can take precautions such as avoiding eating fruits that have fallen on the ground, avoiding feeding pigs, and keeping fruit bats away.
(With inputs from agencies)