A 12-year-old boy died after contracting the Nipah virus in the Indian state of Kerala on Sunday, sparking fears of a fresh health crisis in a country that has already lost more than 441,000 lives to the coronavirus pandemic.
At least two health workers have since tested positive for the Nipah virus, and authorities are working to trace the boy’s contacts in a bid to prevent the spread of a disease that is deadlier than covid-19.
Nipah disease — which the World Health Organization has listed as a priority disease because of its epidemic potential — has caused concern as India continues to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic. India is second in terms of cumulative coronavirus cases after the United States. It has also seen its health-care system collapse due to severe coronavirus variants.
“As of now, there is no need to panic, but we need to exercise caution,” Veena George, the health minister of Kerala, told local media, while federal Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said a team from the National Center for Disease Control had been deployed to the area to offer assistance.
What to know
- When was Nipah virus discovered and how does it spread?
- What are the symptoms?
- How widespread is Nipah virus?
- Is the Nipah virus more deadly than the coronavirus?
- How is it diagnosed, and is there a cure or vaccine?