Deadly Nipah virus, which can harm brain, experiencing outbreak in India


A soldier died on Monday in the eastern metropolis of Kolkata of suspected Nipah virus. He was admitted to hospital on 20 May, seven days after his return from a month's holiday in Kerala. The soldier, Seenu Prasad, was from Kerala and was posted at Fort William.

His parents and wife attended the last rites, the spokesperson said.

The blood samples of the patient, sent for testing to the National Institute of Virology in Pune, have come out negative for the virus, Goa Health Minister Vishwajit Rane said today.

The results are awaited.

With Uttam and Rajesh the number of patients admitted to the hospital is now four.

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The first Nipah virus outbreak was reported in a Malaysian village called Kampung Sungai Nipah in 1998. He died on Sunday and was cremated the next day. Despite of the Centre taking enough measures announcing that there is nothing to worry, the death toll of the Nipah virus victims reached 16 in Kerala. First, it was Malaysia, and now it's India which is reeling under the effects of the deadly virus that has reportedly killed around 15 people in Kerala and one in Kolkata.

Ever since the Kozhikode reports broke, the entire country has been on high alert, especially West Bengal, having seen at least two episodes of Nipah virus attacks in the recent past.

According to the most recent World Health Organization update, the public has been asked to practice safe hygiene and to avoid consuming any fruits or vegetables that appear to have been eaten by any birds or animals; they have also been instructed on what steps to take when going near infected individuals or at-risk areas.

Once the virus gets into people, it can spread from person to person through close contact with bodily fluids, typically from people who are very sick with Nipah to the family members or health-care workers caring for them. Symptoms caused by the virus include fever, headache, drowsiness, respiratory illness, disorientation and mental confusion, and the patient could even slip into a coma.