05/23/2018, 09.55
INDIA
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12 die in Nipah virus outbreak. Health Minister: Contagion stopped

The disease is located in Kerala and is among the eight most lethal infectious diseases in the world, capable of causing epidemics like Ebola and Zika. It is transmitted through the saliva and urine of fruit bats. The victims include a young nurse who refused to leave infected patients in their final hours of life.

New Delhi (AsiaNews / Agencies) – The death toll from the Nipah virus outbreak which has sown panic in the Indian state of Kerala, continues to climb. It is difficult to identify virus which is carried by the fruit bat and transmitted through their saliva and urine and there is no vaccine. Yesterday, Indian Union Health Minister JP Nadda, intervened and said that the contagion had been "localized".

In addition to the victims, the authorities report that around 90 infected people are hospitalized in quarantine. The first case was registered on May 18th, then three others of the same family died. During the inspections, health officials isolated a well behind their house, inside which some dead bats corpses were found (photo 3). Minister Nappa asked the population to keep calm and defined a further spread of the disease "improbable".

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the Nipah virus is among the eight most dangerous infectious diseases in the world, capable of causing epidemics like Ebola and Zika. The disease first appeared in Malaysia in 1998, where it was transmitted via pigs and caused 100 deaths. Since that year, at least 260 people have died in Malaysia, Bangladesh and India. The most common symptoms are headache, inflammation of the brain, drowsiness, difficulty breathing, disorientation, which can lead to coma in 48 hours. The virus is considered extremely lethal and causes death of up to 70% of those who contract it.

There are only palliative treatments that can alleviate suffering, without leading to a cure. This is why the professional and human testimony of Lini Puthussery (photo 4), a young nurse with two children, who died after being infected by three of the victims is so touching. She had decided not to abandon them to their destiny in the last hours of life, but to stay beside them and give them comfort. Her story spread rapidly over the social networks, where she is already hailed as a  "heroine". Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan, said that "she will be remembered for her selfless service".

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