Soldier from Kerala dies of suspected Nipah virus infection in Kolkata

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Soldier from Kerala dies of suspected Nipah virus infection in Kolkata

A soldier on Monday died in Kolkata of suspected Nipah virus, which has caused upto 13 deaths in Kerala.

The soldier was from Kerala and was posted at Fort William. He was admitted to hospital on 20 May, seven days after his return from a month’s holiday in Kerala. He died on Sunday and was cremated the next day.

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His samples have been sent to the National Institute of virology in Pune, which is the only agency in the country to certify whether it was a case of Nipah virus.

The deadly virus, which infects both humans and animals, spreads through contact. The infection in India is believed to have started in Kozhikode in Kerala, where dead bats were found in an unused well inside a home. Four members of the family that stayed there have died, including a man and his two sons.

The symptoms of the infection include fever, headache, drowsiness, breathing trouble, disorientation and delusions. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), these symptoms can progress to coma within 24-48 hours.

Bats are believed to be the main carriers of the virus, for which there is no vaccine yet. While tourists have been warned about visiting Kerala, a popular holiday destination, many states have put out advisories for caution against the infection.

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