New Delhi, May 21: A total of 11 people have died so far in the Nipah Virus outbreak in Kerala. The Kerala State Health Department confirmed the death of these 11 people and called for an emergency meeting in Kozhikode under Minister of Health and Family Welfare JP Nadda. The cause of the death was confirmed after blood samples from the deceased were tested at the  tested at National Institute of Virology in Pune. All the blood samples had been taken at Kozhikode’s Perambra Taluka and belonged to members of the same family.

Following the deaths, the Union Health Ministry has formed a high-level team of doctors under Director of  National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to keep a check on the Nipah virus. Union Health Minister JP Nadda said that the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare was also looking into the matter. Kerala State Health Minister KK Shailaja had called for a meeting earlier amidst the outbreak of Nipah virus.

The State Health Department has asked the District Medical Officers (DMOs) to observe the people and report any incident of Nipah virus immediately to it.

What is Nipah Virus and what are its symptoms?

Nipah Virus (NiV) was first identified in 1999 during an outbreak of encephalitis and respiratory illness among pig farmers and people with close contact with pigs. It is an emerging zoonosis that causes severe disease in both animals and humans. It also occurs as a result of consuming date palm sap that has been contaminated by infected fruit bats, as per WHO.

As far as symptoms go, the Nipah virus infection has symptoms like breathing trouble, fever, headache, drowsiness and disorientation. An infected person can slip into coma within 48 hours.