Nipah virus: Schools in south Indian region shut down following outbreak

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

A Nipah virus outbreak has forced the closure of schools and offices in the south of India.

Authorities in the southern state of Kerala have tracked down more than 800 cases of the virus which has already killed two people.

A further three people, including a child, are being treated in hospital.

The latest outbreak is the fourth time the virus has been detected in the state.

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

In 2018, 21 out of 23 people who tested positive died after contracting Nipah while further outbreaks in 2019 and 2021 killed two people.

Authorities have declared containment zones in at least eight villages to stop the spread of the deadly virus.

“We are in a stage of hypervigilance and detection,” Veena George, the state’s health minister, told Reuters, adding that 77 people have been identified as being at especially high risk.

“We are testing human beings ... and at the same time experts are collecting fluid samples from forested areas that could be the hotspot for the spread.”

The virus spreads through contact with bodily fluids of infected animals or people.

Initially those infected report fever, headache, or myalgia before developing into dizziness or confusion.

Although deemed a virus with “serious potential” to drive mass outbreaks there are no vaccines for the pathogen.