While the death toll from the deadly Nipah virus gone up to 15 in Kerala, scientists are making efforts to trace the source for the spread of the virus.
Scientists at the National Institute of Virology have confirmed that the Bangladesh strain of Nipah virus (NiV) is responsible for the current outbreak in Kerala, a The Times of India report said. Throat swab sample of an infected patient was studied and decoded to come to this conclusion, the newspaper said.
This outbreak of Nipah virus is third in India. The first two cases of the virus had emerged in 2001 and 2007. And scientists say that the Nipah virus has two strains — Malaysia (NiVM) and Bangladesh (NiVB). Both the strains have high fatality rates, between 60 percent and 85 percent, Moneycontrol reported.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Nipah virus was first identified during an outbreak of diseases that took place in Malaysia in 1998. Both animal-to-human and human-to-human transmission have been documented.
Since 1998 to 2015, more than 600 cases of Nipah virus human infections have been reported. Subsequent outbreaks in India and Bangladesh have occurred with high fatality rate.
The first identification of Nipah virus as a cause of an outbreak of encephalitis was reported in 2001 in Meherpur district of Bangladesh. Since then, outbreaks of Nipah virus encephalitis have been reported almost every year in select districts in the neighbouring country.
Samples of bats found in the well of a house in Perambra is considered to be the epicentre of the outbreak in Kerala. The samples tested negative for the virus at the designated laboratory in Bhopal.