Nipah-virus behind mysterious Kerala deaths: All you need to knowLast updated on May 21, 2018, 12:31 pm
In Kerala, the deadly Nipah virus took 11 lives, sending a sense of panic among residents. Over 25 infected people were kept under observation in various hospitals.
The first incident was reported when three people of the same family died after a mysterious disease in Perambra in Kozhikode district.
The Centre rushed a team of virology experts to Kerala, to combat the outbreak.
Three of family died after consuming fruits from compound
The National Institute of Virology, Pune, confirmed the presence of Nipah virus in the blood sample of three deceased.
Their neighbors said they saw them eating fruits picked up from their house's compound. Experts believe this is how they must have caught the infection.
Four people who were in contact with the deceased died at a Medical college on Monday.
What is Nipah virus and how to avoid getting infected
The NiV infection can be transmitted to humans from animals, through direct contact. The first outbreak was reported in Malaysia in 1998.
In humans, NiV infection leads to an acute respiratory syndrome.
Unfortunately, there is no vaccine available for NiV, but for humans intensive supportive care can contain it. It is advisable to avoid contact with sick animals, and consume fruits fallen from trees.
Deceased given electronic cremation to avoid disease from spreading
To prevent the infection from spreading, isolation wards have been set up in government and private hospitals.
The deceased were given electronic cremation to prevent the disease from spreading.
Among those cremated, was a nurse Lini, who looked after two men who were the first to be killed by the virus. The angry hospital staff alleged they were not adequately prepared for such outbreak.
What the authorities have to say about the outbreak
A senior health official from Delhi said it is early to say if it's an outbreak or not.
"It's known to be a highly contagious infection and those suspected to have caught the infection may need to be quarantined. The state health department has set up a helpline to respond to queries and is tracking people with symptoms," he added.
Medical personnel advised asked to use safety gear
"We have asked medical personnel to use all safety gear such as gloves and masks while dealing with potentially infected persons. The collector has already ordered the area around the home of the family with the initial deaths to be cordoned off," said a medical officer.