Kozhikode, May 23: Even as the death toll due to Nipah virus (NiV) rose to 10, the Kerala health department said they had found that the epicentre of the outbreak was a village in Kozhikode, say media reports. According to an India Today TV report, Perambra is the village where three of a family succumbed to the deadly virus while the fourth member struggled for life at a hospital. The report says that the family was shifting to their newly built house when their two young sons decided to clean an abandoned well there and they entered the roughly 100-feet-deep well.

But they could not clean it properly as they felt breathless and they also saw a big colony of bats nested inside the well. Abu, a local, told India Today TV the symptoms were first noticed in 26-year-old Abdul Sadiq. Although he was hospitalised, he died in the first week of May. Then, Sadiq’s elder brother, Abdul Salih, and their relative, Mariyam (50), died at the hospital, after falling ill under similar circumstances. Abu said the family was gradually shifting from their present rented accommodation to their new house. Sadiq and Salih decided to clean the abandoned well in the last week of April.

On Monday, a forest department team managed to catch a few bats from the well and sent their samples for detailed examination. According to state health minister KK Shailaja, out of the 18 samples that were sent for testing, 12 were found Nipah positive. Ten of these patients are dead. Among the deceased was a 28-year-old nurse, Lini, who was reportedly infected by one of the patients.