Authorities in India’s Kerala State Close Down Schools, Offices after Nipah Virus Outbreak

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Authorities have closed down some schools and offices in the southern state of Kerala after it recorded two deaths from the rare and deadly brain-damaging Nipah virus. Two infected people have died since August 30 in the state’s fourth outbreak of the virus since 2018.

Authorities have closed down some schools and offices and declared more than seven villages as containment zones in the southern state of Kerala after it recorded two deaths from the rare and deadly brain-damaging Nipah virus.

An adult and a child are still infected and in hospital, and more than 130 people have so far been tested for the virus, which is transmitted to humans through direct contact with the bodily fluids of infected bats, pigs or other people, an official from Kerala’s health ministry said on Wednesday.

“We are focusing on tracing contacts of infected persons early and isolating anyone with symptoms,” said the state’s Health Minister Veena George, who told reporters the strain of the virus was being examined.

“Public movement has been restricted in parts of the state to contain the medical crisis.”

Two infected people have died since August 30 in the state’s fourth outbreak of the virus since 2018, forcing authorities to declare containment zones in at least seven villages in the district of Kozhikode.

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.