Nipah kills one more in Kerala; public meetings banned, exams put off

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The citizens in the Telangana State have been asked to not to panic as the state health department is undertaking measures to ensure that the hospitals here are well equipped.

Nipah is a rare virus spread through fruit bats, which can cause flu-like symptoms and brain damage.

With the death of one more patient on Thursday morning, the Nipah virus has claimed 12 lives in Kerala till now, while a fresh case of a nursing student in Kozhikode testing positive has surfaced, officials said.

The presence of the Nipah virus was confirmed after tests conducted on Sabith's brother Muhammed Salih, who died on May 18.

There is no vaccination for the virus which induces flu-like symptoms that lead to an agonising encephalitis and coma.

Extending a helping hand to the family of nurse Lini Puthussery, who died after contracting Nipah from her patients, the Kerala government on Wednesday made a decision to give a government job to her husband and Rs 10 lakh each to two of their children. "People should not panic".

As Nipah virus infection takes a toll in Kerala, people from the state living in Nagpur are keeping track of the developments back home.

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There has not yet been an official statement from Public Health England about travel to Kerala, but the risks to travellers are likely to be extremely low.

One of the 10 victims was a nurse who died on Monday after treating a Nipah patient in hospital.

While medical professionals are in a rush to contain the virus, it must be noted that there's no cure as of now and the virus is contagious with 75%-100% fatality rate. On Friday, the advisory, again issued by the department, brought down the number of districts to two - Kozhikode and Malappuram."When the government Health Department issues an advisory, it gives credibility".

"We have opened a control room and we are always on the alert and we are doing everything possible to keep things under check".

Nipah has killed more than 260 people in Malaysia, Bangladesh and India since 1998 and has a mortality rate of almost 70 percent, according to the World Health Organization.

Human-to-human transmission of the virus has been recorded in previous outbreaks in India that killed as many as 50 people. "It is hard to know if the symptoms are of Nipah virus or ordinary influenza", says Kurup, adding that unless the situation clears, he will not visit the state.

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