By Ahmad Adil
NEW DELHI, India
Health authorities in India have expressed alarm over the outbreak of Nipah virus after the death toll in Kerala state rose to 10, according to the state’s health department on Tuesday.
Among the victims was 28-year-old nurse Lini Puthussery who was treating victims at a state hospital.
The health department in the state said it remains on alert following the outbreak of the disease, which was initially confined to the Kozhikode area of the state.
The Health Ministry has sent a team of health experts from capital New Delhi to monitor the situation in the state.
Rajeev Sadanandan, a senior state government official, told Anadolu Agency over phone from Kerala that 12 people had so far been tested positive for the disease.
“Out of the total positive cases, 10 people have died and two are admitted in the hospital,” he said.
He said three districts of the state had been affected by the disease.
“As per the reports, the origin of this disease is a single place…the three districts affected are the neighboring districts,” Sadanandan said.
“We are expecting more cases to come up. Because of the long incubation period of this disease, it takes some time before these cases start coming up,” he said.
According to World Health Organization, Nipah virus infection causes disease in both animals and humans. There is no vaccine for the disease while the “natural host of the virus are fruit bats of the Pteropodidae Family, Pteropus genus,” it added.
Experts say "quarantining" is the best way to prevent further spread of the disease.
Dr. Sanjay Jain, professor of internal medicine at North India's Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, told Anadolu Agency similar outbreaks had been reported earlier in the country.
“The focus of the government should be to contain the disease in the particular area. More efforts should be made to prevent further spread of the disease to other parts of the country,” he said.