Two cases of the rare Nipah virus have been reported in India’s state of Kerala, according to a National Institute of Virology official on Tuesday. Two deaths have taken place, one being this month while the first occurred on August 30, according to an official.
The official added that samples from two further members of the same family had been sent for testing after they were suspected of being contaminated. She also mentioned that the federal health ministry had received the virology institute’s report.
The deadly Nipah virus, which infects bats, pigs, and humans through direct contact with their bodily fluids, was initially discovered in 1999 during an infection outbreak affecting pig farmers and others in close proximity.
The virus has no known cures or immunisations.
In the region where the most recent cases were discovered, mass testing will start, and certain quarantine measures have been implemented.
Since 2018, there have been four Nipah outbreaks in Kerala. The 26-year-old man with whom started the first and worst outbreak was admitted to the hospital with a fever and cough that quickly spread to his family and other patients before being identified as Nipah.
Then, 21 out of the 23 affected individuals passed away. Nipah claimed two more lives in 2019 and 2021.
Parts of Kerala were included among the locations with the highest risk of bat virus outbreaks globally in a May Reuters report. Urbanisation and widespread deforestation have brought people and wildlife into close contact.