Out of the 19 infected by the deadly Nipah virus (NiV) attack in Kerala, 17 who died could have contracted it from the first victim, 26-year-old Mohammad Sabith, suggests a detailed report by the state government.
Sabith from Sooppikada village in Changaroth panchayat, Kozhikode, contracted the virus from fruit bats under unknown circumstances, the report details. He succumbed to the infection on May 5. Following this, four others from his family - his brother Salih and his paternal uncle's wife Mariam - passed away within a fortnight.
Finally, his father, Moosa of Valachuketti house in Sooppikkada, contracted the disease and passed away, increasing the death count to four.
According to a media report, the victim is also said to have infected four others at the Perambra Taluk hospital, where he was brought first and treated as an outpatient, say sources at the State Surveillance department of the Kerala Health Services. One of the four includes nurse Lini, who treated Sabith in the hospital and succumbed to the virus later.
Another person, who was infected at the hospital, is suspected to have contracted the virus from one of the four patients.
Further, 10 others at the Kozhikode Medical College hospital, where Sabith was brought for a computed tomography (CT) scan, contracted the virus from him.
Out of the 19 who were infected, 17 died and two had a miraculous recovery. One of them is Ajanya, a 19-year-old nursing student who was posted at the Medical College Hospital in Kozhikode.
Sabith, who was an electrician by profession, had returned from the Middle East, eight months before his death.
It was earlier suspected that Sabith and his brother Salih had contracted the virus after entering a bat-infested well in their house in Sooppikkada, Perambra. Although Sabith's blood samples were not tested for Nipah, Salih, who was admitted with similar symptoms on May 3, was tested Nipah positive.
Following confirmation of the outbreak, a contact list of 3,000 people was compiled by the health authorities. Soon, the people on the list were quarantined and tested for Nipah.
The report, prepared by the state, has now been sent to the central surveillance department as the outbreak had national implications.
On July 1, the state finally declared the two districts, Kozhikode and Malappuram, where all the Nipah cases were reported, free of the deadly virus. This was declared after no fresh cases of the virus were reported following the 42-day incubation period.