Nipah virus scare spreads to Himachal Pradesh


Medical personnel wearing protective suits check patients at the Medical College hospital in Kozhikode on May 21, 2018.   (AFP/Getty Images)
Medical personnel wearing protective suits check patients at the Medical College hospital in Kozhikode on May 21, 2018. (AFP/Getty Images)

The Nipah virus scare has spread all the way to the north Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. About 18 dead bats were discovered on the premises of a government school in Nahan, sparking fear among locals as nipah virus is spread by fruit bats.

The district’s chief medical officer, Dr Sanjay Sharma, however, said there wasn’t a need to panic as bats visit the area every year.

“The principal of the school and students said that bats come here every year, and eventually perish. However, this year, their numbers are far greater than in previous years,” Sharma was quoted as saying by ANI. “We have informed the teachers and students about the Nipah virus, its symptoms and preventive measures. We told them to avoid physical contact in case of an outbreak as this is a communicative disease,” he added.

Nipah virus has so far claimed 12 lives in Kerala, which is in the southern part of India.

On Thursday morning, Moosa Haji, whose two sons Muhammad Salih and Muhammad Sabith are believed to be the first victims of the infection in the state, died in Kerala’s northern district of Kozhikode. This is the fourth death in Moosa’s family. His relative Mariumma had died earlier.

Haji’s death comes just a day after the Kerala government assured that the outbreak has been contained.

“A few cases of infection by nipah virus have been reported from Kozhikode district in Kerala. The infection remains highly localised, all cases being linked to one family,” the advisory issued by state health secretary Rajeev Sadanandan said, reported PTI.  “The health department is taking effective steps for management of reported cases and surveillance through tracing of the contact of these persons. The situation remains under control.”

However, in an advisory issued to travelers, the government cautioned people from travelling to the northern districts of Kozhikode, Malappuram, Wayanad and Kannur.