Nipah alert in Kerala after two ‘unnatural’ deaths

Nipah alert in Kerala after two ‘unnatural’ deaths

The first-ever Nipah virus outbreak in south India was reported from Kozhikode and Malappuram districts in 2018.

The Kerala Health Department on Monday issued a health alert in Kozhikode district after two deaths were suspected to be caused by the Nipah virus infection, which was described as “unnatural."

As reported by PTI, the State Health Minister, Veena George, conducted a high-level meeting to assess the situation, as reported by the health department in a statement on Monday night.

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.

Additionally, it was reported that relatives of one of the deceased individuals have also been admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU).

Notably, there have been previous instances of deaths due to Nipah virus infection in Kozhikode district, with cases reported in both 2018 and 2021. The initial Nipah virus (NiV) outbreak in southern India was first identified in Kozhikode on May 19, 2018.

Nipah alert in Kerala after two ‘unnatural’ deaths
Explained: What is Nipah virus, causes, symptoms and all you need to know

As per the World Health Organization (WHO), Nipah virus infection is categorized as a zoonotic disease, meaning it can be transmitted from animals to humans. Additionally, it can spread through contaminated food or through direct person-to-person contact.

In individuals who contract the virus, it can lead to a variety of health conditions, ranging from asymptomatic (subclinical) infection, where there may be no noticeable symptoms, to acute respiratory illness, and in severe cases, it can result in fatal encephalitis.

“The virus can also cause severe disease in animals such as pigs, resulting in significant economic losses for farmers", WHO said.

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