Kerala, in southern India, faces a Nipah virus outbreak, a rare and potentially life-threatening disease, resulting in two individuals affected. To contain its spread, schools are closed, and extensive testing is underway. Kerala’s Chief Minister, Pinarayi Vijayan, has confirmed the virus in the Kozhikode district, stressing caution and guideline adherence. This is the fourth outbreak in the state since 2018, with Vijayan urging residents to approach the situation prudently without succumbing to fear.

The Nipah virus is a zoonotic pathogen, meaning it can be transmitted from animals to humans. However, it can also spread through contaminated food or direct human contact. Infection can lead to a range of symptoms, from mild to severe, typically starting with headaches and drowsiness but potentially progressing to a critical condition within days. Additionally, it can cause acute respiratory syndrome, affecting the lungs’ ability to supply sufficient oxygen to the body, and fatal encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain. Presently, there is no vaccine available, and treatment options are limited to supportive care. Kerala has identified 700+ close contacts, with 77 deemed “high risk” and advised to self-isolate. Some schools in Kozhikode have closed, and seven villages are designated “containment zones.” Kerala faced a major Nipah outbreak in 2018, leading to 17 affected individuals and extensive contact-tracing efforts. The virus was first identified in Malaysia in 1998–1999, prompting significant pig culling. While most infections came from contact with infected pigs or tissues, human-to-human transmission, especially among caregivers, has been observed. The Nipah virus remains a top concern for the World Health Organization, requiring urgent research and development.