The Union Health Ministry has officially confirmed that the two recent unnatural deaths in Kozhikode district were indeed caused by the Nipah virus. In response to this confirmation, the central government has swiftly dispatched a team to Kerala, tasked with assisting the state’s health department and assessing the overall situation. The initial fatality occurred on August 30th, with a subsequent death reported on Monday.
Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya stated, “A central team has been sent to Kerala to evaluate the situation and provide support to the state government in managing the Nipah virus.”
The health department in Kerala is currently monitoring two additional individuals from the same family, suspecting that they may have contracted the Nipah virus. Samples from these individuals have been sent for testing. The state government has also established a control room in Kozhikode district and has called upon the public to take precautionary measures while not unnecessarily panicking about the virus.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan emphasized, “There is no need for undue alarm. Contact tracing and treatment are underway for those who had contact with the two affected individuals. Vigilance and cooperation with the health department’s action plan are essential.”
The Nipah virus is a highly dangerous pathogen known to cause severe brain damage and is transmitted to humans through direct contact with the bodily fluids of infected bats, pigs, or individuals. Its initial discovery was in 1999 during an outbreak that predominantly affected pig farmers and those in close proximity to pigs in Malaysia and Singapore.
Kozhikode and Malappuram districts in Kerala have experienced Nipah virus outbreaks in the past, notably in 2018 and 2021. Presently, there is no specific treatment or vaccine available for the Nipah virus. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the infection carries a high fatality rate of 73%.
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