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NEW DELHI — The death toll in Nipah virus outbreak in India’s Kerala state has risen to 16, with the death of two more persons in southern state, officials said Thursday.

“A 56-year-old man and a 28-year-old youth died late Wednesday night at Kozhikode Medical College Hospital in the state’s Kozhikode district, the epicenter of the Nipah virus outbreak,” a senior health official said.

Two more persons, confirmed of having contracted the virus are being treated at KMCH, he said.

Apart from the 16 deaths in Kerala’s Kozhikode and Mallapuram districts, 94 people have been quarantined in their homes while 17 others are under treatment in hospitals. “All steps to prevent the spread of the virus have been taken,” state Health Minister K K Shailaja said.

Besides, 1,353 people who had been in contact with the affected persons before the confirmation of the disease, are under observation, the official said.

The outbreak of the Nipah virus infection, a newly emerging zoonosis that causes severe disease in both animals and humans, is suspected to be from an unused well in Perambra which was infested with bats.

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

Health officials have identified the bat-infested well in the house in Kozhikode district as the likely epicenter of the outbreak of Nipah virus in this country.

This is the third outbreak of Nipah virus in India. Two other outbreaks of the virus were reported in 2001 and 2007, respectively, in eastern state of West Bengal that shares its border with Bangladesh, claiming 50 lives.




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