Nipah | Health dept advisory asks tourists to avoid 4 Kerala districts


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"The bats get stressed and hungry, their immune system gets weaker, their virus load goes up and a lot of virus spills out in their urine and saliva", he explained.

Briefing reporters after the weekly Cabinet meeting here on Wednesday, Health Minister K.K. Shylaja told reporters that the meeting, being jointly convened by her and Labour Minister T.P. Ramakrishnan and Transport Minister A.K. Saseendran, would be attended by MPs and MLAs, other elected representatives and leaders of various political parties. The natural hosts of the virus are fruit bats.

In southern Kerala, at least 11 people have died because of a minor Nipah virus outbreak that has also caused 25 others to become hospitalized. The nurse succumbed to Nipah virus infection on Tuesday morning at Taluk Hospital in Perambra. In Himachal Pradesh, the discovery of more than 18 dead bats from a government school premises created panic.

Moosa's sons Muhammed Sabith, 24 and Muhammed Salih, 26 had died earlier. "We have not undertaken any active screening at airports because we believe that the infection is spreading mainly among lower income groups, and only people travelling by road from Kerala are likely to be carriers", he added.

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"Since there are many foreigners who travel to Kerala, we are advising they can avoid these districts for abundant caution", he told Reuters. Lini Puthussery, 31, whose "selfless service" is being hailed as "heroic" left a note for her husband before dying.

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

Two control rooms have been opened up in Kozhikode as high alert has been sounded in Kerala over the infection. Experts say that NiV is an airborne transmission pathogen and can affect those who come in direct contact with contaminated bodies. The disease has been confined to Kozhikode and Malappuram districts.

The Nipah virus outbreak in Kerala is affecting the state's tourism industry, with numerous tourism destinations witnessing cancellations. "However, if travellers wish to be extra cautious, they may avoid the four districts", Health Secretary Rajeev Sadanandan said.

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Officials suspect the zoonosis infection outbreak - that causes disease in both animals and humans - spread from the unused well at Moosa's home where the dead bats were found.

However, they were asked to take such steps if any of them reported having fever or related illness.

"But human-to-human spread can also occur if there is close contact with an infected person through hospital staff or family members".

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