What is Nipah virus? India rushes to contain outbreak.

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The Indian state of Kerala is racing to contain a new outbreak of the deadly Nipah virus, which has killed two people so far and infected at least five, according to government officials.

Schools in the affected Kozhikode district are closed, several villages have been declared containment zones, and 950 contacts have been identified, 213 of which are considered “high risk.” Kerala Health Minister Veena George on Wednesday confirmed the fifth person infected, a 24-year-old health care worker. An infected 9-year-old remains on ventilation, government media said.

In a statement on social media, Pinarayi Vijayan, chief minister of Kerala, told residents to not to panic but to “face this situation with caution” and “fully cooperate with the restrictions” to contain the disease. Kerala has seen four outbreaks of Nipah since 2018, the last of which occurred in 2021, as the state was also fighting a wave of covid-19 cases.

WHO estimates the Nipah virus’s fatality rate to be between 40 and 75 percent and has listed it as a priority disease because of its epidemic potential. The strain identified in Kerala, known as the Bangladesh strain, has a high mortality but is less infectious, Indian media reported.

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