Nipah Virus That Killed 12 In Kerala May Not Be Linked To Bats: 10 Points

The union health ministry has said that Nipah virus has not spread beyond Kerala

Nipah virus has claimed 12 lives in Kerala, 20 people are being treated for the infection (Reuters)


  • Samples sent to Bhopal lab included those taken from bats
  • Authorities to conduct more tests to locate virus source
  • Virus has not spread beyond Kerala, says centre
New Delhi: Fruit bats may not be the cause of the brain-damaging NIPAH (NiV) virus that killed 12 people and infected 20 in southern Kerala, a medical test report has said. The blood and serum samples of 21 bats tested at the National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases in Bhopal returned negative results for the virus, officials said. Health officials linked the initial deaths to a well colonised by bats at a house in Kerala's Kozihikode where the four members of a family died of the rare Nipah virus.

Here's your 10-point cheatsheet to this big story:

  1. The samples sent to Bhopal lab included those taken from bats found in the house of the Kerala family, which is believed to be the epicenter of the disease. Officials found "many dead bats" in a well in that home.

  2. The family was treated by Nurse Lini Puthussery, who also died on last week and left a heart-breaking note for her husband, which said "take care of our children".

  3. Experts, however, said that these could just be the initial findings and requires more investigations. Authorities have now decided to conduct more tests to locate its source. The virus, spread through contact with bodily fluids, has a mortality rate of about 70 percent.

  4. Two other patients in Telangana were also kept in isolation after developing symptoms similar to Nipah upon returning from Kerala. Their blood samples have been sent for testing as a precaution, the health officials said. Earlier, the two similar cases were suspected from Mangalore in Karnataka but reports were negative.    

  5. The Union health ministry has said the virus has not spread beyond Kerala. "The Nipah virus disease is not a major outbreak and is only a local occurrence," the government said in a statement, adding that a team of experts continued to monitor the situation.

  6. The sudden deaths have led to people abandoning their homes and livestock in the affected Kozhikode and Malappuram districts. Kerala government has announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakh to the victims of Nipah virus.

  7. There is no vaccine for the virus yet, says the World Health Organisation. The main treatment for those infected is "intensive supportive care", according to the UN health body.

  8. A global coalition set up a year ago to fight epidemics has struck a $25 million deal with two US biotech companies to accelerate work on a vaccine against the brain-damaging Nipah virus.

  9. The WHO has named Nipah as one of the eight priority diseases that could cause a global epidemic, alongside the likes of Ebola and Zika.

  10. The health body, however, has not issued any specific advice to countries that have not been affected by the Nipah but has asked them to enhance the level of preparedness. The United Arab Emirates has asked its citizens to put off unnecessary travel to Kerala.