New Delhi (Sputnik): The first case of Nipah virus has been confirmed in the southern Indian state of Kerala after a 23-year-old man tested positive for the infection on Tuesday. The same virus claimed the lives of 17 people last year in Kerala, a coastal state in southern India. A state government source said four districts of the state are currently on high alert.
Initial reports suggest at least five people have been hospitalised in Kerala’s Ernakulam district; 27 people are under close observation in the city of Thrissur and several others have also been under observation in Kollam and Idukki regions.
I have assured #Kerala Health Minister of all possible support regarding #NipahVirus. A central expert team has already reached there.We are in touch with wildlife dept to seek their help for subjecting bats for testing of the virus. There is no need to panic. @MoHFW_INDIA pic.twitter.com/H6WssEABEw— Dr Harsh Vardhan (@drharshvardhan) June 4, 2019
The present outbreak of Nipah virus follows three earlier outbreaks reported in 2001, 2007 and 2018 in the country. The first two outbreaks were reported in the eastern state of West Bengal. Nipah has killed a total of 260 people since 1998 in Bangladesh, India, and Malaysia.
Nipah virus was first detected in a Malaysian village in 1998. Last year, the WHO appreciated Kerala’s swift response to contain Nipah. Pigs have been an intermediate host of the Nipah disease, according to the WHO, but bats are, in fact, the natural hosts of the disease.