The Kerala Health Department issued a health advisory in Kozhikode district on Monday following the suspicion of two deaths being linked to the Nipah virus, which was described as “unusual.” Subsequently, it was confirmed that these deaths were indeed caused by the Nipah virus. Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya confirmed that the Nipah virus was responsible for the two fatalities in Kozhikode, Kerala.

Earlier in the day, State Health Minister Veena George convened a high-level meeting to evaluate the situation, as reported by the health department in a statement on Monday night. The statement mentioned that two deaths, which were considered “unusual” and followed episodes of fever, were reported from a private hospital, raising suspicions of Nipah virus involvement.

Furthermore, it was reported that family members of one of the deceased individuals have also been admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU). Subsequent sample results confirmed that the deaths were attributed to the Nipah virus.

It’s worth noting that there have been prior instances of Nipah virus-related deaths in Kozhikode district, with cases reported in both 2018 and 2021. The initial Nipah virus (NiV) outbreak in southern India was initially identified in Kozhikode on May 19, 2018.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Nipah virus infection is classified as a zoonotic disease, meaning it can be transmitted from animals to humans. Additionally, it can spread through contaminated food or through direct person-to-person contact.

In individuals infected with the virus, a range of health conditions may manifest, varying from asymptomatic (subclinical) infection, where no noticeable symptoms are present, to acute respiratory illness. In severe cases, it can lead to fatal encephalitis. The WHO also notes that the virus can cause severe disease in animals like pigs, resulting in substantial economic losses for farmers.

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