Nipah virus reappears in India's Kerala state

NEW DELHI (XINHUA) - A 12-year-old boy died of Nipah virus in India's southern state of Kerala on Sunday (Sept 5), a federal Health Ministry official confirmed.

The Nipah virus has previously hit the state's two districts - Kozhikode and Malappuram, from May to June 2018, leading to more than 15 deaths.

"A suspected case of Nipah virus, a 12-year-old boy who presented with symptoms of encephalitis and myocarditis was reported on Sept 3 from the Kozhikode district of Kerala," a federal Health Ministry statement said, adding that the virus is spread by saliva of fruit bats.

The boy was hospitalised and died on Sunday morning, said the Health Ministry.

As a result of the death, the federal government rushed a team from the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to the state.

The team will provide technical support to the state's health authorities, said a statement issued by the federal Health Ministry on Sunday.

The federal government has already advised a few immediate public health measures, including a search of active cases in areas with similar topography especially in Malappuram district.

It also issued a directive that contact tracing be done in the past 12 days, strict quarantine of the contacts and isolation of any suspects, and collection and transportation of samples for lab testing.

The Kerala state has already been struggling with the Covid-19 pandemic, reporting around 70 per cent of the total cases from across the country.

On Sunday, 29,682 new Covid-19 cases and 142 deaths were reported from the southern state alone.

Nipah virus outbreaks had also occurred in India's eastern state of West Bengal in 2001 and 2007, leading to over 50 deaths.

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