THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: One more person in Kerala's Calicut died of infection due to the deadly Nipah virus on Sunday taking the death toll to 14. 26-year-old Ebin, a native of Palazhi was undergoing treatment at a private hospital in Kozhikodu.
As many as nine others have been admitted to Kozhikodu Medical College with suspected Nipah infection. Kerala Health minister K K Shailaja said that at least 175 people are being monitored by the authorities.
On Saturday, 75-year-old Kalyani, who was undergoing treatment at the Kozhikodu Medical college since May 16, lost her life. Earlier this week, 61-year-old V Moosa while two of his family members who were suffering from the same disease had died earlier. His eldest son had also died, however, his samples were not tested.
Lini Puthussery, a nurse who had initially treated members of Moosa's affected family members at Perambra Taluk hospital in the district, also died after being infected by the virus.
With samples of insectivores bats testing negative for the virus, samples of fruit-eating bats are being collected from nearby Perambra, the epicenter of the Nipah virus, to be sent for tests at the National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases (NIHSAD) in Bhopal.
Experts from NIV and departments of Animal Husbandry and Forest have begun collecting samples which would be sent to NIHSAD, to test for presence of the virus in the fruit-eating bats, Dr N N Sasi, the Director Animal Husbandry, told PTI.
Earlier, samples of three insectivorous bats caught from an unused well of the Moosa family, which lost three members to the virus, were sent to the Bhopal laboratory along with samples of pigs, goats and cattle in the five km radius of the affected area and all of them tested negative, he said.
According to an official, the droppings, urine and secretions of the bats would also be sent for testing.
A Union Health Ministry advisory has said that the virus, which commonly affects animals such as bats, pigs, dogs, and horses, can spread to humans, causing serious illness.
Spread of the virus to humans may occur after close contact with other Nipah infected people, infected bats, or infected pigs.
Meanwhile, the Kerala government has said travellers need to avoid only Kozhikode and Malappuram districts from where the deaths have been reported.
The outbreak of the virus infection, which is a newly emerging zoonosis that causes severe disease in both animals and humans, is suspected to be from an unused well which was infested with bats.
The natural host of the virus is believed to be fruit bats of the Pteropodidae family, Pteropus genus.
(With inputs from agencies)