Tourists warned to avoid visiting Kerala after the outbreak of 'Nipah' virus

Nipah virus claims another life in Kerala 9 others under observation

After Lini Puthuserry, a nurse of Perambra taluk hospital, died of Nipah virus after contracting it from some patients being treated there, autorickshaws and buses were reportedly refusing to transport the hospital staff. Their blood tests have been sent for testing as a precautionary measure, the wellbeing authorities said.

As samples of insectivores bats tested negative for the virus, the Kerala Animal Husbandry Department and the Pune based National Virology Institute (NVI) are jointly collecting samples of fruit-eating bats to be sent for expert tests.

The appearance of Nipah virus in Kerala has hit fruit sellers.

Two people who are suspected to be suffering from Nipah virus infection have been admitted to Fever Hospital in Hyderabad. Nitin Grover, a travel agent, said, "I had received booking requests for Kerala, but I refused to do the same because the news on the virus is spread worldwide". Incidence of fresh cases in the state has come down.

Officials in the southwestern state of Kerala said that in addition to the latest fatality two patients have tested positive for the virus spread by fruit bats, which induces flu-like symptoms that lead to agonizing encephalitis and coma. Human infections can result from contacts with infected pigs.

Nipah virus may not have spread beyond Kerala but its scare has spread across the country with several states investigating suspicious cases and issuing advisories on precautions and travel to Kerala.

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Nipah virus is a newly emerging disease that can cause serious harm to both humans and animals.

While the World Health Organization has not issued any specific advice to countries - including the UAE - that have not been affected by the Nipah virus (NiV), it has asked them to enhance level of preparedness.

Although the risk of getting infected with the virus from bats and pigs are low in Bhutan, Dr Karma Lhazeen said the risk is in people travelling in and out of the affected places. The natural host of the virus is fruit bats. It can be prevented by controlling the virus in domestic animals, educating and creating awareness on the disease, and controlling infection in health-care settings.

In India the disease was first reported in eastern West Bengal state in 2001. It can also be transmitted from humans to humans.

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.

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