At least 10 people have died as a result of an outbreak of the Nipah virus, India's Kerala state Health Minister K.K. Shylaja said.
“All efforts are also being made to ensure that more lives are not lost,” Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said, adding that the government treating the outbreak with the “utmost seriousness.”
On Tuesday, Shylaja told reporters that two other people remain in critical condition. The disease, which is believed to be transmitted by bats and other animals, has a mortality rate ranging from 40 to 70 percent.
“Infection with Nipah virus is associated with encephalitis (inflammation of the brain). After exposure and an incubation period of 5 to 14 days, illness presents with 3-14 days of fever and headache, followed by drowsiness, disorientation and mental confusion. These signs and symptoms can progress to coma within 24-48 hours,” the United States' Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.
Officials say around 94 people have been quarantined inside their homes [and] some nine people are under surveillance in hospitals, an NDTV report said.
Shylaja commented that no new cases have been reported in the last 24 hours and that 12 of the 18 samples tested for the virus, returned positive results.
The World Health Organization the Nipah virus was first identified during an outbreak of the disease in Kampung Sungai Nipah, Malaysia in 1998 – when pigs were found to be the hosts of the disease.
In Bangladesh, in 2004, humans became infected by consuming date palm sap that had been contaminated by infected fruit bats. There have also been reports of human-to-human transmission in a hospital in India.
There is currently no vaccine for the disease.