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Kerala health minister calls meeting as death toll of Nipah climbs 16

SNS | New Delhi |

As sixteen people lost their lives to the Nipah virus in Kerala, with one more person succumbing to it on Friday, the Kerala Health Minister K K Shailaja on Saturday called for a special meeting.

It is now suspected that the Nipah outbreak has entered its second stage. In the latest development, six suspected cases of Nipah were admitted to the medical college on Friday.

Twenty five-year-old Resin, who was under treatment at the Kozhikode Medical college hospital, died on Friday, official sources said.

Health department sources said 18 persons have tested positive for the Nipah virus so far, out of whom 16 have died. Two are undergoing treatment.

According to the sources, the number of samples tested for Nipah virus is 196 of which 178 have tested negative. The virus had claimed two lives on Thursday.

In Kolkata, a 28-year-old soldier from Kerala, who was posted at Fort William, Kolkata, died of suspected Nipah virus last week.

He was admitted to the command hospital on May 20, where he died five days later, a Defence spokesperson had said yesterday.

His samples have been sent for testing at the National Virology Institute at Pune and the results are awaited.

Over 1300 people, who had come in contact with the affected persons before the confirmation of the virus, are under observation.

Three fruit-eating bats, their faecal and urine samples have been sent for testing at the National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases in Bhopal, official sources said.

The natural host of the virus is believed to be fruit bats of the Pteropodidae family, Pteropus genus.

(With agency inputs)