Health officials investigating the outbreak in Kerala, where the first death happened on Friday, have traced it to a well infested with bats from which the victims drew water. Officials suspect the Kerala outbreak may have begun with bats.
"Due to the spread of the risky # NipahVirus in Kerala, South India, citizens are advised to be cautious, till situation is under control", a tweet from the consulate said. Fruit bats are considered to be the reservoirs of the virus. NiV was first identified during an outbreak of disease in Kampung Sungai Nipah, Malaysia, in 1998.
While two of the deaths have been confirmed due to Nipah, the blood samples of one of his sons had not been tested for the virus, sources said.
According to World Health Organization, human infections range from asymptomatic infection, acute respiratory infection (mild, severe), and fatal encephalitis. The natural host of the virus is fruit bats of the Pteropodidae family, Pteropus genus.
A patient suffering from acute Nipah virus can fall into coma within 48 hours.
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Nipah has killed more than 260 people in Malaysia, Bangladesh and India since 1998 and has a mortality rate of almost 70 percent, according to the World Health Organization.
There is now no vaccine or drug available for humans or animals and the main treatment is intensive support care for those who are suffering from respiratory and neurologic problems.
Two "control rooms" in the worst-hit Kozhikode district have been set up to closely monitor the spread of the virus. A central team has also been sent to the district to help the state administration. "The travel ban issued in the Gulf countries will affect Arab travellers who come to Kerala during the June-August period".
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Malappuram District Medical Officer K. Sakina told the media that the only thing the people in the district need to do is to follow the directions of the health authorities.
"The infection remains highly localized, all cases being linked to one family. the Health Department is taking effective steps for management of reported cases and surveillance through tracing of the contact of these persons".