The southern Indian state, Kerala has been put on high alert after a mysterious virus infection killed nine people including a government hospital nurse. The virus outbreak initially happened in Kozhikode district two weeks ago.
Within a very short period of time, nine people died after the unknown virus attacked them. Reports also stated that as of now three more people were identified with the same illness in Malappuram, which is the neighbouring district of Kozhikode.
Many experts believe that the deaths are due to the infection of a rare virus 'Nipah'. State Health Minister KK Shylaja told the media on Sunday, May 19 that the nature of the virus is yet to be ascertained.
"The kind of virus that caused the disease has not been ascertained. Blood and other samples of the deceased have been sent to the National Virology Institute in Pune. The results will be made available in a few days," KK Shylaja said after chairing a meeting of top health officials.
Out of the nine deaths, the most shocking one was the death of Lini, a staff nurse who worked at the government hospital at Perambra in Kozhikode. Lini had apparently treated the victims around a week ago and slowly, she also started to feature the symptoms of the disease. She was later admitted to a private hospital but, she died yesterday. Her body was buried by the hospital authorities themselves fearing a further outbreak of the virus.
According to information provided by the World Health Organization, India has in the past documented cases of Nipah virus infection. Nipah virus was initially identified in Malaysia in 1999 which resulted in the death of 105 people. In the same year, several cases were also reported in Singapore which killed one of the victims.
Experts believe that the recent outbreak has been transmitted to humans by bats. Health officials have warned people not to eat fruits which have suspected bat bite in it. They have also asked everyone not to drink alcoholic drink Toddy from places where bats are common.