Case of Nipah Virus suspected after sudden death of bats

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The woman travelled to the city from Kasargod in Kerala and had been in contact with patients who have since tested positive for the virus, health department researcher Mohammed Sharif told Scroll.in. Blood, urine, and throat swab of patients suspected to have contracted Nipah virus infection would be collected at the District Hospital and the General Hospital and sent to the Virology Institute at Manipal for testing.

In a letter to the medical authorities, the director of Health Services, Braja Kishore Brahma, underscored the need to take preventive measures against the deadly virus as treatment options were limited.

According to a health ministry official, the infection has a high mortality rate.

After reviewing the cases of all the patients who have lost their lives, the Central High-level Team is of the view that the Nipah virus disease is not a major outbreak and is only a local occurrence.

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"We have also made a decision to give a government job to the husband of the nurse Lini who died after attending to Nipah virus patients in Perambra in Kozhikode", he said.

Authorities are investigating whether deaths in a third Indian state are caused by Nipah virus after the disease has so far killed at least 11 in southern Kerala. Health officials said Tuesday that 10 people who were exposed to the Nipah virus and showed symptoms have died.

To discuss issues relating to outbreak of the virus, an all-party meeting has also been called at the Kozhikode collectorate tomorrow in which representatives of political parties, MPs and MLAs will participate.

Districts of Kannur, Kozhikode, Malappuram, and Wayanad are identified as unsafe. The teams will disseminate awareness material about the virus at primary health centres, community health centres, and taluks and district hospitals.

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Ms Lini Puthussery had been treating a family of three who had been diagnosed with the virus, spending an entire night taking care of them. In India, it was first reported in 2001 and again six years later, with the two earlier outbreak claiming 50 lives.

The nurses, cleaning staff and field workers were the "wealth" of the state's health sector, the minister said. The only treatment is supportive care to keep patients comfortable.

A state government statement said "travelling to any part of Kerala is safe".

Nipah virus is transmitted to humans through infected fruit bats, pigs or other Nipah-infected persons.

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