Thiruvananthapuram | Jagran News Desk: The deadly Nipah virus, which spreads by the saliva of fruit bats, has returned to Kerala after a 12-year-old boy, who on Saturday was admitted to a hospital in Kozhikode, died of the infection on the morning of Sunday.

Speaking to reporters, state health minister Veena George said that the samples of the boy were sent to the Pune National Institute of Virology where it has been confirmed that he died of the Nipah virus.

She said that the primary contacts of the boy have been identified and isolated, but no one has shown symptoms so far. George also said that she along with state minister PA Mohammed Riyas will visit Kozhikode later on Sunday to take a stock of the situation.

"We have formed teams to handle the situation. Contact tracing and other measures have already been initiated. As of now, there is no need to panic, but we need to exercise caution," George was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.

"As of now, there is no need to panic, but we need to exercise caution. Till now, no one from the family or other contacts of the 12-year-old has any symptoms," the state health minister added.

Centre rushes medical team to Kerala

The Centre, meanwhile, has has rushed a public health team to Kozhikode to take a stock of the situation and provide technical support to the southern state, said the Union Health Ministry in a statement.

"A suspected case of Nipah virus, a 12-year-old who presented with features of encephalitis and myocarditis was reported on September 3 from Kozhikode district in Kerala. The boy was hospitalised and passed away today morning," it said.

The first Nipah virus disease (NiV) outbreak in South India was reported from Kozhikode district of Kerala on May 19, 2018. There have been 17 deaths and 18 confirmed cases as of June 1, 2018. 

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma