200130 kerala coronavirus
The first death took place on August 30 and the second death on September 11. Image Credit: Reuters

New Delhi: Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Tuesday confirmed that the two deaths in Kerala's Kozhikode district have been caused by the the Nipah virus.

The Union Health Minister added that currently four patients suspected to be infected with Nipah virus are under surveillance and their samples have been sent for testing.

A Central team has been sent to Kerala to take stock of the situation and assist the state government in Nipah virus management, Mandaviya said in a press conference here.

"I have spoken to the Health Minister of Kerala, there have been reports of this virus several times this season. Cases are coming up, this virus is spread by bats. A guideline has been prepared by the Health Ministry regarding this so that we can take precautions," Mandaviya said.

The first death took place on August 30 and the second death on September 11.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Tuesday said that the State government is viewing the two “unnatural deaths” reported from Kozhikode very seriously and that the health department has issued an alert in the district. Health officials suspect Nipah virus infection to be behind the two “unnatural deaths” reported from a private hospital in Kozhikode.

The state department has also issued an alert in the district in the wake of two deaths after a review meeting chaired by State Health Minister Veena George.

There was a Nipah outbreak in the Kozhikode and Malappuram districts in 2018 and later in 2021, a case of Nipah was reported in Kozhikode.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), Nipah Virus is caused by fruit bats and is potentially fatal to humans as well as animals. Along with respiratory illness, it is also known to cause fever, muscular pain, headache, fever, dizziness, and nausea.