The death toll of the Nipah Virus outbreak that has put Kerala on high alert over the last two weeks has reached 14. The latest victim, Ebin from Palazhi, who was battling the virus in a private hospital in Kozhikode passed away on Sunday afternoon. According to reports, it was confirmed that the victim had contracted Nipah. He had been in a critical condition for the past 4 days. On Saturday, a 62-year-old woman under treatment at the Kozhikode Medical College hospital, passed away.
According to reports, two more people with Nipah virus infection admitted at the Kozhikode Medical College hospital are in critical condition.
Most cases have been reported in Kozhikode and Malappuram and fresh instances of Nipah virus have come down, thanks to the efforts of the State Health Department.
Close to 200 patients in these two districts are being treated in hospitals, with 26 under observation and three who have tested positive under intensive treatment.
Meanwhile, five medical professionals are being sent to Delhi for an intensive course at the Safdarjung Hospital there to learn the treatment protocols to be followed in such cases.
Nipah virus is transmitted to humans through infected fruit bats, pigs or other Nipah-infected persons.
With test results showing that a particular variety of bats, found in and around Kozhikode and mostly at the worst-affected Perambara town near here, is not carrying the virus, a special team from Pune is arriving to see how best they can take samples from other varieties of bats also found in this district.
In a related development, a police probe, initiated to find out the travel itinerary of the virus' first victim Sabith, found out that he never visited Malaysia but had been in the United Arab Emirates, from where he had returned in October last year.
Several states issue alerts
Despite, the Union Health Ministry maintaining that the virus outbreak is a localised occurrence and there is no need to panic, fear runs high across the country.
Panic gripped Himachal Pradesh when several bats were found dead at Government Senior Secondary School in Barmapapri in Sirmaur district this week. However, tests at the National Institute of Virology in Pune ruled out that the bats were carrying Nipah virus.
Similarly, in Telangana, two persons, including one who visited Kerala recently, were admitted to hospitals on Friday with suspected Nipah virus infection. However, their samples later tested negative.
The Bihar government issued a Nipah virus alert on Saturday, asking people to take precautions. An advisory has also been issued to people with the dos and don'ts as preventive measures.
Madhya Pradesh issued its advisory on Friday. While saying there was no reason to worry as the virus is generally limited to a place, Health Services Director B.N. Chouhan advised against eating fruits that are fallen on the ground or appear to have animal teeth or claw marks.
The Rajasthan government also issued an advisory on Saturday, asking people not to travel to affected parts of Kerala and for officials to maintain caution.
(With inputs from IANS)