Mandaviya confirms two Nipah virus deaths in Kerala

New Delhi: Two deaths reported from Kerala’s Kozhikode district were caused by Nipah virus, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said on Tuesday.

He said a central team of experts has been sent to Kerala to take stock of the situation and assist the state government in the management of the Nipah virus infection.

Two “unnatural deaths” following fever were reported from Kozhikode on Monday. Relatives of one of the deceased are also admitted to the ICU, the Kerala health department said in a statement issued last night.

Following the deaths, the health department sounded an alert in the district.

It has been confirmed that the two deaths reported from Kozhikode were caused by Nipah virus, Mandaviya told reporters.

A central team of experts has been sent to the state to take stock of the situation. It will also help the state government in the management of the infection, he said.

According to official sources, samples of four more people from Kerala have been sent to the National Institute of Virology in Pune for testing for the deadly virus.

Earlier in the day, the Kerala government set up a control room in Kozhikode and advised people to use masks as a precautionary measure.

In a Facebook post, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said his government is viewing the two deaths seriously.

He, however, said there is no need to worry as most of those who were in close contact with the deceased are under treatment.

Kerala Health Minister Veena George chaired a high-level meeting to evaluate the situation in Kozhikode.

She said the entire health machinery in the district is on alert.

Kozhikode had also reported deaths due to Nipah virus in 2018 and 2021.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), Nipah virus infection is a zoonotic illness that is transmitted to people from animals. It can also be transmitted through contaminated food or from one person to another.

It causes a range of illnesses, from asymptomatic (subclinical) infection to acute respiratory illness and fatal encephalitis, among infected people.