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Two deaths in Kerala caused by Nipah virus, two others, incuding 9-year-old boy, test positive

The two dead persons have been identified as hailing from Ayanchery and Maruthonkara regions in Kozhikode. KOZHIKODE: Two deaths in Kozhikode are now confirmed to have been caused by the deadly Nipah virus. Blood samples from the deceased and from those admitted to the hospital had been sent to the National Institute of Virology in Pune and the confirmation came on Tuesday evening. State health minister Veena George said that 2 persons undergoing treatment also have been confirmed to have the infection. This includes a 9-year-old who is currently on ventilator support. The Health Minister also added that the two epicentres of the disease have been identified, these were declared as containment zones by the district collector. Ayanchery Panchayat- 1,2,3,4,5,12,13,14,15 wards, Maruthonkara Panchayat - 1,2,3,4,5,12,13,14 wards, Thiruvallur Panchayat- 1,2,20 wards, Kuttyadi Panchayat - 3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10 wards, Kayakkodi - 5,6,7,8,9 wards, Villiappally - 6,7 wards, Kavilumpara Panchayat- 2,10,11,12,13,14,15,16 wards. The minister said that in the first case, 158 contacts were identified, out of which 127 were health workers and the rest were family or those from the locality of his residence. In the second case, nearly 200 contacts were traced, out of which 10 have been identified along with their mobile numbers. "Nipah virus infection has been confirmed in Kozhikode district. Two people died due to infections. Of the four people whose saliva was sent for testing, two were Nipah positive and two were Nipah negative," Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said in a Facebook post. The chief minister urged people not to panic and to take precaution instead. According to local media reports, a list of individuals who came into contact with the two deceased persons has been prepared, and they are kept under surveillance. Earlier, Kerala Health Department officials had declared the deaths to be unnatural. The two dead persons have been identified as hailing from Ayanchery and Maruthonkara regions in the Kuttiyadi and Nadappuram constituencies respectively. The district administration announced a holiday in these regions on Tuesday. An alert had been issued asking the public to stay calm and cautious and avoid panicking. The deceased were undergoing treatment for fever at a private hospital in the district. According to the officials from the health department, one of the relatives of the deceased has been admitted to the hospital in the intensive care unit. Three persons from a family are in isolation at a private hospital in the city. ALSO READ | Kerala Nipah alert: 'Govt viewing situation seriously,' says CM Vijayan On 19 May 2018, a Nipah virus disease outbreak was reported from the Kozhikode district. This was the first NiV outbreak in South India. There have been 17 deaths and 18 confirmed cases as of 1 June 2018. The two affected districts were Kozhikode and Mallapuram. A multi-disciplinary team led by the Indian Government’s National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the State government came together to stop the outbreak. The second case was reported in 2019 at Ernakulam and later Nipah was reported again in 2021 in Kozhikode when a 12-year-old died of encephalitis. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the Nipah virus is zoonotic (it is transmitted from animals to humans) and can also be transmitted through contaminated food or directly between people. In infected people, it causes a range of illnesses from asymptomatic (subclinical) infection to acute respiratory illness and fatal encephalitis. Explainer on Nipah and what happened in 2018 Nipah virus (NiV) infection is a zoonotic disease which can be transmitted to humans from infected animals It is transmitted through virus-contaminated food or directly from person to person Fruit bats are considered to be the natural host of the Nipah virus Case fatality rate estimated at 40% to 75%. This varies depending on local capabilities for surveillance and clinical management The first Nipah outbreak in the state was reported in Kozhikode district in May 2018 Soopikada near Perambra was the epicentre of the outbreak The infection claimed 18 lives in Kozhikode and Malappuram districts The deceased include nurse Lini Puthussery who attended to an infected person at EMS Memorial Cooperative Hospital at Perambra Around 2,000 people were isolated as part of containment measures The outbreak was contained and declared over on June 10, 2018 In 2019, a Nipah case was detected in Ernakulam, but no death was reported Two of the infected persons survived (With inputs from PTI) (THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS)