Deadly Nipah virus claims victims in India

Health officials in the south Indian state of Kerala say nine people have died in confirmed and suspected cases of the deadly Nipah virus.

Three victims tested positive for the virus in the last fortnight. The results of the remaining six samples will be available later on Monday.

Twenty five others have been hospitalised with symptoms of the infection in
Kozhikode, officials said.

Nipah is an infection which can be transmitted to humans from animals.

There is no vaccination for the virus which has a mortality rate of 70%.

Nipah virus is also "top of the list" of 10 priority diseases that the WHO has identified as potentials for the next major outbreak.

Kerala's health secretary Rajeev Sadanandan told the BBC that a nurse who treated the patients had also died.

"We have sent blood and body fluid samples of all suspected cases for confirmation to National Institute of Virology in Pune. So far, we got confirmation that three deaths were because of Nipah," he said.

"We are now concentrating on precautions to prevent the spread of the disease since the treatment is limited to supportive care."

Fruit bats are mainly considered to be the natural host of the virus.

Health officials say they have found mangoes bitten by bats in a home, where three people have died of the suspected infection.



BBC

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