Nipah virus outbreak contained in Kerala, says Health Minister KK Shailaja

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An Indian boys wears a mask as a precautionary measure against the Nipah virus in the southern Indian state of Kerala.

Two other confirmed cases of Nipah virus have been detected and the patients are being treated in hospital, she said. Bats act as the host of the virus, which spreads to other animals through their excreta or droppings.

The blood sample of the nursing student tested positive for the Nipah virus on May 24.

Symptoms of Nipah virus are trouble in breathing, brain swelling, headache, fever, drowsiness, disorientation and delirium.

After an initial setback due to reports on Nipah-related deaths, the Kerala tourism industry seems to be clawing back to normalcy."There were cancellations initially, but now the situation is stabilising", said Jose Dominic, MD and CEO of CGH Earth Group. The health ministries at the Centre and in the state have asked people not to panic and see a doctor if they notice any of the symptoms.

India's national Health Minister, J. P. Nadda, wrote on Twitter on Wednesday that he had instructed officials, "to leave no stone unturned in terms of proactively countering the Nipah virus threat". Two people have died in the neighboring district of Mallapuram. Noted author and rationalist MN Karassery also joined in, tweeting to the Kerala Chief Minister, to institute an award for the most service-minded female nurse, in honour of Lini.

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The experimental vaccine being developed by the biotech companies has produced promising results in animal tests, following more than 15 years of research by scientists at the USA -based Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences.

Meanwhile, following a complaint from the state Health Department, the Cyber Police in Thiruvananthapuram registered a case against misuse of the social media with lots of fake news being circulated with regards to the outbreak of the virus. A health department official said the distribution of protective gear in hospitals began on May 19. "The family was likely to get infected with the virus after drinking water from the well", he added.

As Kerala takes steps to contain the spread of the virus, there is panic at the Government Taluk Hospital in Perambra in Kozhikode district.

No. Previous outbreaks have been reported in India, Bangladesh, Thailand, Cambodia, the Philippines, Laos and Malaysia.

There is now no vaccine or treatment to tackle Nipah, which has a mortality rate of around 70 percent.