Union Minister J P Nadda on Sunday directed the Director of National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to visit Kerala's Kozhikode district to assist the state government in the wake of death of three people due to Nipah virus there.
A central team will be visiting the state to monitor the situation post the Union Health Minister's direction.
"Reviewed the situation of deaths related to nipah virus in Kerala with Secreatry Health. I have directed Director NCDC to visit the district and initiate required steps as warranted by the protocol for the disease in consultation with state government," Nadda said in a tweet.
Nipah virus (NiV) infection in humans has a range of clinical presentations, from asymptomatic infection to acute respiratory syndrome and fatal encephalitis, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).
The Kozhikode health department is maintaining vigilance in the wake of three deaths there reportedly due to the virus. Two more persons, who were allegedly in contact with the deceased, are believed to be in a serious condition.
Earlier today, Lok Sabha MP and former Union minister Mullappally Ramachandran sought the central government's intervention to contain the outbreak of what he termed was a "rare and deadly" virus in some parts of Kozhikode.
In a letter to Nadda, Ramachandran said some panchayats, including Kuttiyadi and Perambra, in his Lok Sabha constituency of Vatakara were in the grip of the virus.
He said some doctors have termed it as Nipah virus, while others said it was zoonotic, and that the spread is fast and fatal.
"The mortality rate is reportedly 70 per cent. The spread of the disease needs to be contained," he said in the letter.
NiV is also capable of causing disease in pigs and other domestic animals. There is no vaccine for either humans or animals. The primary treatment for human cases is intensive supportive care, the WHO says on its website.