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Nipah Virus: After Kerala, In Karnataka Mangalore Affected


Mangalore: Symptoms of the virus surfaced in a 20-year-old woman and a 75-year-old man in the port city of Mangalore after they traveled to neighboring Kerala and had contact with infected patients, said “Rajesh BV”, a health official in Karnataka on Wednesday.They are not confirmed Nipah cases yet, so there is no need to panic,he said by telephone. The situation is under control.The patients are being treated and samples of their blood have been sent for screening, with results expected by Thursday.
There is no vaccine for the virus yet, says the World Health Organisation. The main treatment for those infected is “intensive supportive care”, according to the UN health body.

Health officials investigating the outbreak in Kerala, where the first death happened last week, have traced it to a well infested with bats from which the victims drew water.

Kerala is on high alert over the infection and two control rooms have been opened in Kozhikode. A central team has also been sent to the district to help the state administration.

Travel to Kerala, a popular tourist destination, was however declared safe by Rajeev Sadanandan, a state health official, who said the outbreak “remains highly localized”, with all cases linked to one family.He declined to comment on the Mangalore cases, but identified the districts of Kannur, Kozhikode, Malappuram and Wayanad for tourists in Kerala to avoid, as being close to the outbreak and under scrutiny by health officials.

Among the dead in the Kerala outbreak was nursing assistant and mother-of-two Lini Puthussery, who had helped to treat one of the original family suffering from Nipah earlier this month.

Ms Puthussery died on Monday and was cremated before her family members could bid her a final goodbye because of fears the virus could spread.

At least 17 patients are still under treatment, Kerala Health Minister KK Shailaja said. “All steps to prevent the spread of the virus have been taken,” she added, urging people not to destroy colonies of fruit bats.

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