Nipha virus claimed one more life in Kerala, death toll rises to 11

Kozhikode: Animal Husbandry department and forest officials collect bats from a well of a house after the outbreak of 'Nipah' virus, near Perambra in Kozhikode on Monday. The Nipah virus has so far claimed three lives in Kerala while one person is undergoing treatment and 8 others are under observation in Kozhikode district. (PTI Photo)(PTI5_21_2018_000193B)

Vastavam web: The deadly Nipha virus today claimed one more life in Kerala, with a 61-year-old man succumbing to the virus, taking the death toll to 11.The latest victim, V Moosa, was on ventilator support since the past few days.There are totally 14 nipha confirmed cases, of whom 11 have so far lost their lives.Moosa’s sons Mohammed Saliah (28), Mohammed Sadiq (26) and a relative Mariumma had died earlier.

While two of the deaths have been confirmed due to Nipah, the blood samples of one of his sons had not been tested for the virus, sources said.Health officials had also sealed an unused well, believed to be the epicentre of the virus, in the compound of Moosa’s house after it was found to be infested with bats.Nurse Lini Puthussery, who initially treated members of Moosa’s family at Perambra Taluk hospital in the district, had also died after being infected by the virus.Their blood samples have been sent for testing and results are awaited.

A high-level meeting chaired by Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan this morning reviewed the steps taken by the state government to contain the outbreak of Nipah virus.Directions have been given to continue vigil and to strengthen the state’s monitoring mechanism, besides increasing awareness about the virus and strengthening precautionary measure.In view of the collector’s order, the examinations for civil police officers and others being conducted by the Kerala Public Service Commission (KPSC) in Kozhikode on May 26 have been postponed.

Kozhikode district medical authorities have received complaints that the staff of the Perambra taluk hospital, where Lini Puthussery, a nurse had died after she contracted the Nipha virus from some patients she had treated, were facing isolation.”If they get into buses, people refuse to share seats, autorickshaws decline to take them,” district medical officer said.Fruit traders said people are not buying fruits fearing that they may have been infected by fruit bats, which is suspected to be host of the dreaded virus.

“This is the mango season and we are selling local mangoes which were in good demand until the virus struck,” said a trader.”Now no one is buying fruits. People have stopped visiting even juice shops,” he said.According to the Kerala Fruits and Merchants Association, there has been a 40 per cent dip in the sales in the state due to the outbreak of virus, while in Kozhikode district alone, where the virus first erupted, there has been a fall of 90 per cent in sales.