New Delhi, May 30: A soldier has died of suspected Nipah virus infection in Kolkata, said media reports on Wednesday. This, despite precautionary measures by the Union Health Ministry and the respective state governments. The soldier’s death was confirmed by a Defence spokesman, according to IANS. Meanwhile, another patient in Goa has tested negative.
Soldier Seenu Prasad, who hailed from Kerala, was posted at the Eastern Command Headquarters at Fort William. He was admitted to the hospital on May 20 and passed away five days later, on May 25. He had been home on a month’s leave before he rejoined work on May 13. Prasad’s body fluids had been sent to the National Institute of Virology in Pune which is the only agency in the country to certify whether it was a case of Nipah virus or not.
“We cannot confirm if it was a case of Nipah virus infection until the report from the NIV in Pune hasn’t been received,” the spokesman said. Nipah virus has claimed at least 14 lives so far, mostly in Kerala. Meanwhile, the outbreak has taken a toll on the state’s economy. While tourism has been hit with media reporting deaths, scaring the tourists away, United Arab Emirates has banned import of fresh fruits and vegetables from Kerala, said PTI. The UAE’s Ministry of Climate Change and Environment said in a statement that a circular had been issued to the concerned local authorities, including the Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority and the municipalities of Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah, to prevent the entry of all kinds of fresh vegetables and fruits from Kerala.