The southern Indians Kerala state put on “all-time alert” after at least 17 die of Nipah virus infection.

The southern Indian state of Kerala has been put on “all-time alert” after at least 17 out of 18 people, who were infected with Nipah virus, died in the past weeks.

Kerala’s Health Minister KK Shailaja told on Monday that the state is on an “all-time alert” to prevent the infectious disease – which causes acute respiratory problems or fatal brain swelling among humans – from spreading further.

“All efforts are being made by authorities to confirm that more lives are not lost due to Nipah,” she said.

The viral outbreak has forced 2,379 people to be quarantined in their homes in the southern state, health and government officials have said.

More than 2,000 people are under medical observation in Kerala’s Malabar region, and facing the uncertainty whether they have been infected with the disease.

Individuals who had any contact with infected persons have been included in the list.

The state’s Director of Health Services, RL Saritha, said on Monday that there have been no new cases reported since June 1.

“The preventive measures have been implemented with greater efficiency. There is no need to panic,” Saritha told

The Nipah virus is believed to be transmitted from animals to humans. According to the World Health Organization, fruit bats are the natural hosts of the disease.

India’s National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and experts from the National Institute of Virology (NIV) said they are also monitoring the situation.

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