The death toll due to Nipah rose to 11 in Kerala, with one more person succumbing to the deadly virus on Thursday. The deceased, V Moosa (61), had been battling for life since past few days in a private hospital here and was on ventilator support.
Kozhikode district medical officer, Dr Jayasree E told reporters that about 160 samples have been sent for testing at the virology institute and 13 cases have been found to be positive. Of the 13 confirmed cases, 11 people have died so far. The official further said confirmation is awaited with regard to one more death in Kozhikode.
The state government has advised to avoid going to four districts of Kozhikode, Malappuram, Wayanad and Kannur. Health Secretary Rajiv Sadanandan says that “Traveling to any part of Kerala is safe.” However, if travellers wish to be extra cautious, they may avoid the four districts, he said.
The government has also called for an all-party meeting at Kozhikode on Friday to discuss the issue.
Most of the deaths reported are from Kozhikode and Malappuram districts from where 11 deaths have now been reported and 18 are undergoing treatment in various hospitals, including one in Wayanad. Isolation wards have also been set up in Thalassery government hospital in Kannur, according to media reports.
In Kozhikode, where seven deaths have been reported, District Collector U V Jose has ordered temporary stoppage of all training programmes and summer camps in affected areas such as Changaroth, Koorachund, Kottur,Cheruvannur, Chekyad, Chakkittapara and Olavanna.
The anganwadis in these regions too have been asked to close down to avoid spread of the virus among children. However, no decision has been taken yet on reopening of schools after the summer vacation.
The outbreak of the virus infection, which is a newly emerging zoonosis that causes severe disease in both animals and humans, is suspected to be from an unused well which was infested with bats.
The natural host of the virus is believed to be fruit bats of the Pteropodidae family, Pteropus genus.
(with inputs from Agencies)