Kerala’s Kozhikode District on High Alert as 2 Suspected Nipah Virus Deaths Reported

Four individuals, including three children, who had close contact with the initial fatality on August 30, are presently receiving medical care. The condition of one of the children is described as critical.

The Kerala health department issued a high alert in Kozhikode district on Monday night after two individuals succumbed to suspected Nipah virus infections within a two-week period, on August 30 and September 11.

Both of the deceased individuals, males, were admitted to private hospitals in the district after presenting with fever symptoms, but authorities noted that they exhibited signs consistent with a Nipah virus infection. Samples of bodily fluids from one of the deceased have been dispatched to the National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune, with results anticipated later today.

Kerala Health Minister Veena George and District In-Charge Minister PA Mohammed Riyas have hurried to Kozhikode. Both ministers will convene a high-level meeting on Tuesday to oversee preparedness and establish a plan of action if the samples confirm the presence of the virus.

Currently, four people, including three children, who had contact with the initial fatality on August 30, are undergoing treatment. The condition of one of the children is reportedly critical.

Dr. AS Anoop Kumar, a key figure in the discovery of Nipah virus infections in Kozhikode in 2018, has expressed similar concerns to the health department this time. He confirmed that both deceased individuals had come into contact with each other at some point.

“We must identify the index case in this outbreak. It could be the individual who passed away on August 30, or there may have been another case preceding that. We also need to pinpoint the epicenter of this outbreak, the location where the virus was transmitted from an animal to a human. Previous studies by the NIV and the veterinary department had confirmed that fruit bats in the Perambra area of Kozhikode carry this virus,” Dr. Kumar stated in an interview with local media.

Nipah virus is a zoonotic virus primarily transmitted from animals to humans. Research has shown that fruit bats are the primary source of transmission, although in some instances, infections have been linked to pigs.

The first Nipah outbreak in Kerala was recorded in 2018 in Kozhikode, resulting in 17 fatalities. Subsequent occurrences were reported in 2019 and 2021, but in both instances, those infected ultimately recovered.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *