New Delhi (AFP) – Another patient has died of the Nipah virus in India, with the number of deaths from a rare disease outbreak falling to 13, authorities said Sunday.
Officials in the southwestern state of Kerala said that in addition to the last death, two patients were tested positive for the distribution of the virus by fruit bats, causing flu-like symptoms that lead to agonizing encephalitis and coma.
Health experts were flown to Kerala to stem the virus at a mortality rate of 70 percent and without vaccination.
"One man died today from Nipah virus, taking the overall death toll at 13," said Sarita RL, director of Kerala's health services to AFP.
"There are two other confirmed Nipah patients undergoing treatment."
Nipah has killed more than 260 people in Malaysia, Bangladesh and India since 1998.
The World Health Organization has them alongside Ebola and Zika listed as one of the eight priority diseases that could trigger a global epidemic.
Nipah is named after the Malaysian village where it appeared for the first time in 1998. It spread to Singapore and more than 100 people were killed. On this occasion, pigs were the virus hosts, but it is believed that they were caught by bats.
In India, the disease was first reported in 2001 and six years later, with the two outbreaks claiming 50 lives. Both times the disease was reported in West Bengal near Bangladesh.
Bangladesh has borne the brunt of the disease in recent years, with more than 100 people dying from Nipah since a first outbreak was reported there in 2001.
Four The victims of the recent outbreak in Kerala came from one family. Dead bats were found in a well in their home in the district of Kozhikode, the epicenter of the virus outbreak.
Even a nurse who treated one of the victims succumbed to the disease.