What is Nipah Virus | Why it is effecting Kerala and How it spreads


The Nipah Virus outbreak which has gripped the southern state of Kerala is believed to have spread into Karnataka now after two suspected cases have come into the knowledge of the health officials.

Symptoms of the virus which can cause fatal brain inflammation have been detected in a 75 year old man and 20 year woman from Mangalore city. They had travelled to neighboring state Kerala and had recently come into the contact of the infected patient.

Dr. Rajesh BV, a district surveillance officer in Karnataka has stated that while their blood tests are awaited, their condition is improving.

So far, 11 people have died in the outbreak while 14 are confirmed as infected with the virus. 22 cases are waiting for test results after showing symptoms.

A statement released by health authorities says that the situation is under control and there is no need to panic. The state government is constantly monitoring the situation and is acting in proactive manner.

The first case of the virus was reported on May 19 in Kozhikode when fruits bats, natural host of the virus were found near a family well and their bred rabbits had died. It was immediately brought to the attention of Indian health ministry and world health organization. A response team was immediately deployed to Kerala.

Headache and drowsiness are the initial symptoms which should not be ignored as the patient can go into a coma within days of being infected. He virus has a fatality rate 40% to 75% with no vaccine or treatment yet known. Nipah is still considered as an emerging virus by WHO as it was discovered recently in 1998 in Malaysia. Since then, 600 cases have been reported and it is listed as one of the epidemic threats requiring urgent research and development by WHO.