Central team says Nipah virus confined to Kerala, neighbours cautious

Officials in Telangana were checking on Friday if two people had been infected with the brain-damaging Nipah virus that has killed 12 in southern Kerala, although the central government described the outbreak as minor.

A multi-disciplinary central team led by the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) , reviewing the cases of patients died of the Nipah Virus Disease in Kerala, is of the view that the Nipah virus disease is not a major outbreak and is only a local occurrence. 
The team, however, further fine-tuned the draft guidelines, case definitions, advisory for healthcare workers, information to the general public, advisories for sample collection and transportation accordingly.  
The virus has not spread beyond Kerala, the government said after investigation by health officials linked the initial deaths to a well colonised by bats whose water the victims had been using.
“The Nipah virus disease is not a major outbreak and is only a local occurrence,” the government said in a statement, adding that a team of experts continued to monitor the situation.
Meanwhile, in Telangana, blood samples from two men who showed flu-like symptoms of the virus were sent for testing, a health official in Telangana said.
“We just sent them as a precaution,” said K Shankar, medical superintendent of the Sir Ronald Ross Institute of Tropical and Communicable Diseases in Hyderabad.
Two suspect cases in Karnataka, a state bordering Kerala, proved negative, said a medical official there.
The state government has advised students from Kerala studying in various institutions of the state not to vist Kerala for now to avoid chances of contacting the virus.
All the confirmed infections so far involved people who contacted it from the first victim while he was being treated, said microbiologist G Arun Kumarat the Manipal Centre for Virus Research.
“Hospital-acquired infections are a major path of human to human transmission,” added Kumar, who heads the Manipal Centre for Virus Research that is testing virus samples.
The virus, spread through contact with bodily fluids, has a mortality rate of about 70 per cent.