Health Care

Death toll from Nipah virus rises to 15 in Kerala

Death toll from Nipah virus rises to 15 in Kerala

A day after a soldier died of what is suspected to be from Nipah virus in Kolkata, the infection today claimed two more lives in Kerala- taking the death toll in the state to 15.

Yesterday, Madhusudhanan (55) of Nellikode in the district, who was undergoing treatment in a private hospital here also breathed his last.

A senior health services official, said, Karassery-resident Akhil's death followed hours after he tested positive for the brain-damaging virus. Prasad was admitted to hospital on April 20 and died this Sunday of suspected Nipah virus infection. However, so far there is no vaccine against the virus, which was first identified in 1998 at Kampung Sungai Nipah in Malaysia.

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The army has sent samples of a 27-year-old soldier's body fluids to Pune's National Institute of Virology to ascertain whether he died of Nipah virus infection on Friday.

"Till such time the report from the NIV in Pune is received it can not be confirmed whether it was a case of Nipah virus or not", the spokesman said. Following the rising cases of the virus, Kerala health department issued an advisory for people travelling to the state and urged travellers to be extra cautious while visiting Kozhikode, Malappuram, Wayanad and Kannur districts. The symptoms of the disease include fever, headache, drowsiness, respiratory illness, disorientation and mental confusion. According to initial reports, the virus was spread by fruit bat.

Nipah virus can be transmitted by infected pigs, or by fruit bats, through their secretions of saliva, urine or faeces.