Nipah Kerala
Students wear safety masks as a precautionary measure after the outbreak of 'Nipah' virus in Kozhikode, Kerala on May 22, 2018.IANS

Union Health Minister J P Nadda downplayed the Nipah virus outbreak, saying that it was now under control in Kerala. In an interview, Nadda said: "Within 12 hours of the Nipah virus outbreak, a team of doctors reached Kerala, discussed the disease's management and controlled it in a time-bound manner. Health Ministry and I are personally monitoring the situation. There is no need to panic," asking people not to over hype the situation

He earlier claimed that the virus was the result of "tampering with nature". The Nipah virus broke out in May in Kerala and has since left 16 people dead. Nadda further noted that scientists from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences(AIIMS), Safdarjung Hospital, National Institute of Virology in Pune and doctors from the National Centre for Disease Control are supporting health authorities in Kerala in managing the outbreak.

In order to prevent the virus from spreading, the Kerala government ordered colleges and other educational institutions in Kozhikode to remain closed till June 12. The state health department has issued an advisory for people travelling to the state, urging them to be extra cautious while visiting Kozhikode, Malappuram, Wayanad and Kannur districts.

As per the World Health Organisation (WHO), Nipah virus, spread by fruit bats, causes communicable disease and is fatal for both animals and humans.

The symptoms of the disease include fever, headache, drowsiness, respiratory illness, disorientation and mental confusion, and can progress to coma within 24-48 hours.

The virus originated in Malaysia and has no known cure as of now. In order to prevent the virus from spreading, the UAE and Saudi Arabian governments have temporarily halted imports from the state. 

With input from ANI.