Death Toll From Nipah Rises to 16 in Kerala

Deaths from Nipah virus continue to rise as officials scurry to find the host of the virus in Kerala. The samples of bats and cattle sent from around the area have tested negative.

Kozhikode: Sixteen people have lost their lives to the Nipah virus in Kerala, with one more person succumbing to it on May 31.

Twenty-five-year-old Resin, who was under treatment at the Kozhikode Medical College Hospital, died today, official sources said.

Health department sources said 18 people have tested positive for the Nipah virus so far, of whom 16 have died. Two are undergoing treatment. According to the sources, the number of samples tested for Nipah virus is 196, of which 178 have tested negative.

The virus had claimed two lives on May 30.

In Kolkata, a 28-year-old soldier from Kerala, who was posted at Fort William, Kolkata, died of suspected Nipah virus last week. He was admitted to the command hospital on May 20, where he died five days later, a Defence spokesperson had said on May 31. His samples have been sent for testing at the National Institute of Virology at Pune and the results are awaited.

Over 1,300 people, who had come in contact with the affected persons before the confirmation of the virus, are under observation.

Three fruit-eating bats, their faecal and urine samples have been sent for testing at the National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases in Bhopal today, official sources said.

Earlier, samples of three insectivorous bats caught from an unused well of the Moosa family here, which lost three members to the Nipah virus, were sent to the Bhopal laboratory along with samples of pigs, goats and cattle in a 5 km radius of the affected area and all of them tested negative, the sources said.

The natural host of the virus is believed to be fruit bats of the Pteropodidae family, Pteropus genus.