What is Nipah virus and how is it transmitted?

WHO warns against outbreak of Nipah virus

The first fatal cases in Kerala were reported on Saturday from a family in Kozhikode, as two brothers in their late 20s and their 50-year-old aunt died from the virus.

The Nipah virus outbreak in India's southern state of Kerala is suspected to have spread to the neighboring state of Karnataka, where two people are being tested for it, a health official told CNN.

The dreaded Nipah virus has literally wiped out a family from Perambra in Kozhikode district of Kerala by claiming the life of the fourth member on Thursday. "All cases are linked to the one family in Kozhikode - those who came in contact with them", Rajeev Sadanandan, Additional Chief Secretary, Health and Family Welfare Department in Kerala, told CBS News.

"It (outbreak of Nipah virus) is a localised occurrence and there is no need to panic", the minister said.

With the deaths due to the deadly Nipah virus being reported so far from northern Kerala, the state government has issued an advisory, asking travellers to avoid visiting the four districts of Kozhikode, Malappuram, Wayanad and Kannur. "Without laboratory reports it can not be said that these bats have been killed by Nipah virus", Mr Choubey said, adding that he has already spoken to the Himachal Pradesh administration over the matter.

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A large number of medical professionals and health experts deputed by the Centre, state government and the private sector are working in Kozhikode and Malappuram districts.

Officers of the Health Department, Animal Husbandry Department and Forest Department arrived at the Burma Papadi School, following a directive from the Deputy Commissioner, and took samples from the dead bats for further investigation. They have denied rumours that the bats may spread the infection. The Nipa virus is under control, the minister said at a press meet here today. "In fact, byelections are going on in my district and this virus fear has not had any impact on poll-related activities", he says.

The World Health Organization issued a report on Friday warning against an outbreak of the Nipah Virus, NiV, which is transmitted from sick animals, especially fruit bats and pigs, to both humans and animals.

In Bangladesh in 2004, humans became infected with NiV as a result of consuming date palm sap that had been contaminated by infected fruit bats.

There is no vaccine and thereby supportive care is the only way. The virus also transmits from humans to humans.

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