Nipah Virus: Educational institutions in Kozhikode, Wayanad to remain shut

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Kozhikode: With two more deaths in the past two days in this Kerala district, the death toll from Nipah virus has risen to 16 as state Health Minister K.K. Shailaja on Friday warned of a possible second outbreak.

The department asked the doctors and other staff of the Government Taluk Hospital at Blaussery, Kozhikode to go on a week's leave after two persons died there due to infection and a doctor had to undergo treatment with symptoms.

The Kerala government today chose to postpone the re-opening of educational institutions in Kozhikode district to June 12, besides deferring all examinations, except those conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC).

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State Health Minister K.K. Shailaja said that the medical teams of the Centre, state and the private sectors need to be complimented for effectively containing the outbreak.

Ismail, in turn, is reported to have been infected from Mohammed Sadik, the first suspected Nipah virus victim in Kerala.

In the morning, the death of a 39-year-old woman, Roja, who showed symptoms of the virus, gave a scare. Two other outbreaks of the virus were reported in 2001 and 2007, respectively, in eastern state of West Bengal that shares its border with Bangladesh, claiming 50 lives.

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While schools and colleges in Kozhikode will remain closed until June 12, schools in Wayanad will stay shut until June 5.

Talking to G Plus Ganesh Saikia, joint director of health services of Kamrup (Metro) district, said that they have appealed to the people not to panic and maintain calm. "So far, here we have seen cases of Japanese encephalitis but none of Nipah virus", said Saikia. Kozhikode District Collector U.V. Jose said a high- level meeting to be held on Saturday would decide on the reopening of schools in the district. The Delhi government, meanwhile, has issued an advisory of the people of the national capital to avoid consuming "raw date palm sap" and take extra precaution while having mangoes that falls off from trees as they might be infected by the fruit bats. No virus has been detected in their latest blood reports and they would only be discharged when it is confirmed that there is no sign of the virus in their body. The antibody will be administered only if there is any fresh nipah case.

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