At least nine people have died in Kozhikode in Kerala due to high fever. News agency ANI reported that the health department of the state has confirmed that two out of the nine deceased were affected with the rare Nipah virus. However, there is no confirmation on the cause of the death of the other seven patients.
According to the Kerala Health Department, samples of the seven patients have been sent for tests to ascertain the cause of the death. The department further said that a task force has been formed under District Collector UV Jose.
This comes a day after reports of death of three members of a family in Kozhikode due to the Nipah virus. Following the deaths, the Kerala Health Department has been put on high alert.
State Health Minister KK Shylaja on Sunday said the nature of the virus was yet to be ascertained. "The kind of virus that caused the disease has not been ascertained. Blood and other samples of the deceased have been sent to the National Virology Institute, Pune. The results will be made available in a few days ", she told reporters here after chairing a meet of top health department officials.
While a 50-year-old lady died at a private hospital Changarothu in the district on Sunday, her male relatives, aged 25 and 23, died on May 18 and May 5.
Earlier, Lok Sabha MP and former union minister Mullappally Ramachandran sought the central government's intervention to contain the outbreak of what he termed was a 'rare and deadly' virus in some parts of Kozhikode district.
In a letter to union health minister JP Nadda, a copy of which was made available to the press in Kochi, he said some panchayats, including Kuttiyadi and Perambra, in his Lok Sabha constituency of Vatakara were in the grip of the 'deadly virus'.
(With agency inputs)