Deserted Hospital, Locked Houses Where Nipah Virus Was First Reported In Kerala

According to Kerala government, 10 people have died due to Nipah virus and blood samples of around 60 suspects have been sent to virology units for confirmation.

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There is no vaccine for the Nipah virus yet, says the World Health Organisation


Kozhikode, Kerala:  At the Chenganoth Panchayat in Kerala's Kozhikode, several families have evacuated their homes in the last four days, since three deaths were reported due to the rare Nipah virus, spread mainly by fruit bats.

"We all left out of fear. Now, I have returned with my grandchildren and children after health officials came here and explained the details to us," Moosa PK told NDTV. 

"It's like a war-hit stretch in the night, with all lights switched off. But now people are beginning to return," Mammy TK added. 

Just about six kilometres away, Perambra taluk hospital seems deserted. 

"We used to get at least 1,000-1,500 outpatients usually in a day. But since the nurse has died, the outpatients have reduced to just around 100," Dr Vincent told NDTV. 

According to the state government, 10 people have died due to Nipah virus and blood samples of around 60 suspects have been sent to virology units for confirmation. 

Around nine patients, including two who are critical, are under treatment in isolated wards in Kozhikode Medical College as well as few other private hospitals. 

The three who died earlier were all from the same family -- two brothers in their early twenties and a woman relative who had been with them at the hospital. The father of the brothers is reportedly being treated for the virus. Dead bats were found in a well of the family's home.

"The family in Perambara has been identified as the epicentre of the outbreak. Three people from this family have died already and one of them is in critical condition. All the remaining people had come in contact with this family in one way or the other. No new cases have been reported in the last 24 hours," Kerala Health Minister KK Shailaja said. 

The Nipah virus or NiV infection has symptoms like breathing trouble, brain swelling, fever, headache, drowsiness, disorientation and delirium. A patient can fall into coma within 48 hours. It travels through direct contact with a patient.

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.

Kerala is on high alert over the infection and two control rooms have been opened in Kozhikode. A central team has also been sent to the district to help the state administration.

There is no vaccination for Nipah which has killed more than 260 people in Malaysia, Bangladesh and India in outbreaks since 1998.


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