A new Nipah virus outbreak in Kerala, India


The southern tropical Indian state of Kerala has issued an alert after it confirmed that two people have died from the rare Nipah virus. The Nipah virus infection is a “zoonotic illness” transmitted from animals like pigs and fruit bats to humans, or by contaminated food or through contact with an infected person. Even if not every infected person manifests symptoms, they can be severe, as respiratory problems or encephalitis. The mortality is high and there is no medecine or vaccine available. India’s Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Tuesday said the federal government had dispatched a team to experts to Kerala to assess the situation .


There were shut some schools, offices and public transport. Containment zones were declared in at least eight Kozhikode villages. Public movement has been restricted in parts of the state. More than 700 people were being tested for the virus and results were awaited. People are asked to wear masks and visit hospitals only for emergencies. This is the fourth Nipah outbreak in Kerala since 2018. The virus detected in Kerala was the same as one found earlier in Bangladesh. It also spreads from human to human. The Nipah virus was first identified in 1999 during an outbreak of illness among pig farmers and others in close contact with the animals in Malaysia and Singapore.