Indian nurse who died battling Nipah virus hailed as hero

The rare Nipah virus which is spread by fruit bats has killed 11 people in India

The Ministry had yesterday asked people not to "panic" saying the outbreak was "unlikely" to spread further as early and efficient containment measures were being taken.

In another incident, New York-based Dr Shameer Khader in a Facebook post requested help to get him in touch with the state Health Department as the researches he is part of have possible solutions to offer to the "Nipah virus" situation in the state.

The death toll from the deadly Nipah virus rose to 12 on Thursday as one more person undergoing treatment died this morning.

While the cause of the outbreak is still being investigated, a team of health experts who visited the family's house have linked it to dead bats found in the home's water well. "We suspect these bats to be the cause of the outbreak", an official said.

The virus that is usually carried by flying foxes - a kind of bat - or pigs and can be spread between humans through close contact with people's secretions and excretions. As quoted by the World Health Organization, the natural host of the virus are fruit bats of the Pteropodidae Family, Pteropus genus.

Today the death toll of the virus - which has no vaccine - rose to 11, with nearly 100 people being treated as potential cases.

Officials set a net over a well to catch bats in Kozhhikode district of Kerala which is the epicentre of the outbreak
Officials set a net over a well to catch bats in Kozhhikode district of Kerala which is the epicentre of the outbreak

All animal samples, including those from bats, cattle, goats and pigs from Kerala, sent to the National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases, in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, were negative for Nipah, said animal husbandry officer A. Mohandas.

After reviewing the cases of all the patients who have lost their lives, the Central High-level Team is of the view that the Nipah virus disease is not a major outbreak and is only a local occurrence.

Eating fruits that have been partially eaten by infected bats or the cooked meat of infected animals can also lead to people developing the virus.

Health officials said since the incubation period of the deadly virus is between four to 18 days they will continue to monitor all those who had possibly came in contact with some of the deceased.

There is now no vaccine for the disease. Primary treatment options include intensive care support with ventilator and BP support with standard infection control practice. The infection presents as an encephalitic syndrome marked by fever, headache, drowsiness, disorientation, mental confusion, coma, and potentially death.