NEW DELHI –The death toll from Nipah virus outbreak in India has risen to 12, with the death of two more persons in the southern state of Kerala in the past 48 hours.
"One of the two died in intensive care at a hospital in Kozhikode district Thursday. The deceased was a 62-year-old man, the father of the two men of a Kerala family who contracted the virus first by drinking water from a bat-infested well in their house," a health official said.
Apart from the 12 deaths in Kerala's Kozhikode and Mallapuram districts, some 94 people have been quarantined in their homes while 17 others are under treatment in hospitals. "All steps to prevent the spread of the virus have been taken," state Health Minister K.K. Shailaja said.
The latest death came a day after the Indian Health Ministry claimed to have contained the virus. "It was a highly localised infection and we have been able to contain it well," Indian Health Secretary Preeti Sudan told the media late Wednesday evening.
Health officials have identified the bat-infested well in the house in Kozhikode district as the likely epicentre of the outbreak of Nipah virus in this country. "Some bats were caught and sent for laboratory examination. The well has been sealed," an official said.
This is the third outbreak of Nipah virus in India. Two other outbreaks of the virus were reported in 2001 and 2007, respectively, in eastern state of West Bengal, which claimed 50 lives.
Nipah virus is an emerging infectious disease that first broke out in a Malaysian village in 1999. Health experts say there is no vaccine for the virus that causes fever and breathlessness in affected patients as initial symptoms, and only intensive care can help. Enditem ---