Kerala man quarantined in Goa after showing Nipah symptoms

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A rare virus spread by fruit bats, which can cause flu-like symptoms and brain damage, has killed 10 people in southern India, health officials said on Tuesday, with at least nine more being treated.

A 20-year old male from Kerala has been kept in "isolation" at Goa Medical College and Hospital (GMC) as he is suspected to be suffering from the Nipah virus.

State health minister Vishwajit Rane said the man was under observation at GMCH, located near here in North Goa district, and it was not yet confirmed if he was infected with the deadly virus.

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Nipah virus (NiV) infection in humans has a range of clinical presentations, from asymptomatic infection to acute respiratory syndrome and fatal encephalitis, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

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The results would be verified only once test results were back from the National Institute of Virology in Pune.

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Meanwhile, Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran said in Thiruvananthapuram that the government and the department would take the initiative to alleviate the concern among tourists and stakeholders following the outbreak of Nipah.

Of 18 people screened for the virus, 12 proved positive, Mr Shailaja told a news conference, adding that 10 of the sufferers had died and the other two were being closely monitored. It is believed that the main host of the virus, the fruit bat, transmits the disease to fruit that it feeds on or touches including mangoes, dates and bananas. A number of these bats were discovered dead inside a well belonging to a family that recently lost four people to Nipah. "In both cases, the symptoms are same but we can not reach to a conclusion of it being Nipah virus infection at this stage".

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