A virus carried by fruit bats has killed at least 10 people in India’s southern state of Kerala, health and government officials said.
Nipah virus, which spreads fast and has a reported death rate of 70 per cent, can infect both humans and animals, particularly pigs. There is no vaccine available for it.
Kerala state health minister, said on Tuesday that 10 people died of the virus and two more were in critical condition.
“We had sent 18 cases for testing for Nipah virus out of which 12 have come back positive, Rest of the six are negative.
Those who have died are mainly from the districts of Kozhikode and Mallapuram, including a 31-year-old nurse, who was treating patients infected with the virus.
“The victims from Malappuram were reportedly in contact with those infected in Kozhikode,” Shailaja said, adding that no new cases have been reported in the past 24 hours.
The outbreak has caused panic in the state, with the government stressing that is handling the issue with “outmost seriousness”.
“All efforts are being made to ensure that more lives are not lost,” Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan was quoted as saying by local media.