Nipah virus claims 1 more life in Kerala, death toll reaches 16

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There was more bad news as Kerala Health Minister KK Shailaja has also warned of a possible second outbreak.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Nipah virus was first identified during an outbreak of diseases that took place in Malaysia in 1998. "Things are in control, but we have to be very careful", said Shailaja.

"There is no need to panic". She said persons who had come into contact with those who had contracted the virus should be cautious. With the death, the toll due to Nipah infection in the state has risen to 16. Out of 19 reported cases, 17 deaths from the two affected districts in Kerala. Normally, the schools reopen in the state on June 1.

Schools in the neighbouring Wayanad district will also remain shut until June 5 following a notice by Collector S Suhas. Two people, who died of this brain damaging illness, had undergone treatment at this hospital.

Seenu Prasad, who hails from Kerala and posted at the Eastern Command headquarters Fort William, was admitted to the Command Hospital here on May 20 and passed away on May 25, the spokesman said.

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"Health care workers caring for a patient suspected to have NiV fever should immediately contact local and national experts for guidance and to arrange for laboratory testing", it reads. The officials have also asked those who had made contact with Nikhil and Rasil who died on Wednesday and Thursday respectively after being infected with the Nipah, should also communicate with the Nipah cell.

In another precautionary measure, all nine staff members at Balussery taluk hospital in Kozhikode district have been given leave. "Since there is no treatment and cure to this rare and deadly virus and the infection is fast spreading, already claiming 13 lives since its outbreak in Kozhikode district of Kerala".

The Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Shri J P Nadda today reviewed the ground situation with the Health Minister of Kerala and took stock of the public health measures in the affected areas.

Arrival of renowned doctors in such large numbers to the state has vast significance, he said, and conveyed his salutations to them.

The report was being finalised, the source said. It is a non-patented drug called the human monoclonal antibody (M 102.4) was developed by an Australian researcher Dr. Christopher C Broder.