Government health officials announced on Tuesday, June 4, that one case of Nipah virus has been confirmed in Kerala state. A student in Ernakulam district tested positive for the disease and four other people who may have come in contact with the man are displaying symptoms. Officials have placed 311 other people under observation as a precaution. Kerala’s health minister has urge people in the state to remain calm and to take precautionary measures against the disease, including avoiding eating fruits bitten by bats and to thoroughly wash all fruits and vegetables before consuming them.
An outbreak of Nipah virus spread through Kerala state starting in May 2018, killing at least 17 people by the beginning of June. Nipah virus infection, first identified in 1998, is a disease carried by fruit bats that can induce fever, headache, drowsiness, respiratory illness, disorientation, and mental confusion. Individuals suffering such symptoms can fall into a coma within 24-48 hours. The viral infection has a reported mortality rate of 70 percent. There is no vaccine available.
Individuals in Kerala state are advised to monitor developments to the situation, adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities, and avoid drinking raw date palm sap and to thoroughly wash all fruits and vegetables. Anyone who is exhibiting the abovementioned symptoms is advised to seek immediate medical attention.
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