Authorities said on Wednesday that several schools, offices, and public transportation were closed in the southern Indian state of Kerala as they rushed to stop the spread of the deadly and rare Nipah virus, which has already claimed the lives of two individuals.
According to a state health official, the virus can be communicated by direct contact with the bodily fluids of infected bats, pigs, or people. An adult and a child are still infected in the hospital, and more than 130 people have been tested.
Veena George, the state’s health minister, told reporters that the virus strain was being investigated and said, “We are focusing on tracing contacts of infected persons early and isolating anyone with symptoms.”
To control the medical crisis, public movement has been restricted in several areas of the state.
In the state’s fourth virus epidemic since 2018, two infected people have died since August 30. This has prompted officials to designate containment zones in at least seven villages in the Kozhikode district.
Strict isolation rules were adopted, with medical staff being quarantined after direct contact with the infected.
The first victim was a small landholder in the district’s village of Marutonkara, a government official said. The victim’s daughter and brother-in-law, both infected, are in an isolation ward, with other family members and neighbours being tested.
The second death followed contact in hospital with the first victim, doctors’ initial investigation has shown, but the two were not related, added the official, who sought anonymity as he was not authorised to talk to the media.