Emiratis in India warned of deadly virus

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"The bats get stressed and hungry, their immune system gets weaker, their virus load goes up and a lot of virus spills out in their urine and saliva", he explained. As quoted by the World Health Organization, the natural host of the virus are fruit bats of the Pteropodidae Family, Pteropus genus.

"WHO has been informed about Nipah virus cases being reported in a family from a village in Kozhikode district of Kerala", he said.

The family was treated by Nurse Lini Puthussery, who died on Monday and her body was cremated immediately to avoid the spread of the disease.

So far, there is no vaccine for Nipah virus, and treatments are mainly supportive care for its symptoms which include mental confusion, fever, vomiting, encephalitis, and disorientation.

While the cause of the outbreak is still being investigated, a team of health experts who visited the family's house have linked it to dead bats found in the home's water well. Sixty different samples have been collected from the spot and sent for examination. We have told them whatever happens, do not touch those bats. Lini had died of viral fever caused by Nipah virus after she had cared for a Nipah victim at the Perambra taluk hospital.

"We have opened a control room and we are always on the alert and we are doing everything possible to keep things under check".

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Fear of the disease has swept Kerala, even as officials insist the situation is under control. "However, if travellers wish to be extra cautious, they may avoid the four districts", Health Secretary Rajeev Sadanandan said.

A crisis management group has been constituted to coordinate the response of government agencies following the deaths in Kozhikode and Malappuram districts.

There had been no travel advisories issued Wednesday morning by the Indian central government or the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi. The official further said confirmation is awaited with regard to one more death in Kozhikode. Fruit bats commonly drop partially eaten saliva-laden fruits which are consumed by domesticated animals such as cows, pigs, goats etc.

Also called as NiV, the Nipah virus infection is spread mainly by fruit bats and can affect both humans as well as domestic animals including dogs, cats, goats, horses, and sheep.

Human-to-human transmission of the virus has been recorded in previous outbreaks in India that killed as many as 50 people.