Nipah virus outbreak in Kerala
Animal Husbandry department and Forest officials deposit a bat into a container after catching it inside a well at Changaroth in Kozhikode in the Indian state of Kerala on May 21, 2018.-/AFP/Getty Images [Representational Image]

The deadly Nipah virus has once again infested the state of Kerala. After a 23-year-old college student was admitted to a hospital in Kochi with suspected symptoms of Nipah, Kerala's Health Minister KK Shailaja confirmed on Tuesday (June 4) that the Nipah virus is back.

Along with the infected youth, four other people, including two nurses who were attending to him, are also believed to be infected with the virus. The Kerala government confirmed that the youth was infected with Nipah virus after a confirmatory report came from Pune's National Institute of Virology (NIV).

Even though the symptoms pointed at nipah infection, the doctors were waiting for an official confirmation from the department. The health minister has asked all the people who have felt the symptoms like high fever, headache and severe body pain to take proper treatment.

Minister Shailaja said that medicines bought from Australia are available at NIV Pune. Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan has also promised to give all available assistance to the state in fighting the infection. A control room has also been set up by the state government to provide assistance. The public can get guidance by calling the toll-free numbers 1077 and 1056.

Nearly 86 people who had come in contact with the youth have been placed under observation. A team of 6 experts from All India Institute of Medical Sciences consisting of epidemiologists, scientists and other experts has arrived at Kochi to look into the situation.

Doctors and relatives wearing protective gear carry the body of a victim, who lost his battle against the brain-damaging Nipah virus, during his funeral at a burial ground in Kozhikode, in the southern Indian state of Kerala, India, May 24, 2018.Reuters file [Representational Image]

Kerala's Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said that the government has taken precautionary measures and is closely monitoring the situation. He has also asked the public not to indulge in any fake campaigns and to steer away from creating fake news that will create panic among the people.

Isolation wards have been opened the medical colleges in Kochi, Kalamassery, Thrissur and Kozhikode.

Nipah virus was first identified in a Malaysian village Sungai Nipah. It came to Kerala in 2018 and claimed 17 lives, 14 from Kozhikode and 3 from the neighbouring Malappuram district. This virus can be transferred from the flying foxes (fruit bats) to both animals and humans.