Nipah alert sounded in Keralas Kozhikode after 2 unnatural deaths
The blood samples of the deceased persons have been sent for examination and the result is expected by Tuesday afternoon. Representative photo: iStock

Nipah alert sounded in Kerala's Kozhikode after 2 'unnatural' deaths

While the first patient died on September 8, the second one passed away on Monday. The government has said that the situation is under control

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The Kerala health department sounded a health alert in Kozhikode district on Monday (September 11) following two "unnatural" deaths suspected to be due to the Nipah virus infection.

The government has said the situation is under control and there is no cause for panic. An isolation ward has been set up in the government medical college hospital in Kozhikode, said Veena George, state health minister.

A statement issued on Monday night said that the state health minister held a high-level meeting and reviewed the situation. A 9-year-old child and a ten-month old infant are among the list of the infected.

It said two "unnatural" deaths following fever were reported from a private hospital, and it is suspected that these were due to the Nipah virus.

Blood samples of the two deceased have been sent to the virology institute in Pune for further examination. The results of the samples are expected by Tuesday afternoon. The government officials are preparing a list of the all the people the infected had met.

While the first death was reported on September 8, the son of the deceased and four other people are said to have contracted the virus later. They have been isolated and under treatment. The second death occurred on Monday.

The cremation of the body will be done only after confirmation of the virus.

Two family members of one of the deceased individuals are currently receiving treatment in the intensive care unit in a Kozhikode hospital.

Deaths due to Nipah virus infection were reported in Kozhikode district in 2018 and 2021. The first Nipah virus outbreak in south India was reported from Kozhikode on May 19, 2018. The district had then reported 18 confirmed cases and 17 fatalities. Only two people had managed to survive the infection.

In 2019, a student from Ernakulam had contracted the virus but he too survived after prolonged treatment.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Nipah virus infection is a zoonotic illness that is transmitted to people from animals and can also be transmitted through contaminated food or directly from person-to-person. Among infected people, it causes a range of illnesses, from asymptomatic (subclinical) infection to acute respiratory illness and fatal encephalitis. The virus can also cause severe disease in animals such as pigs, resulting in significant economic losses for farmers, WHO said.

(With inputs from agencies)

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