Saudi Arabia bans fruit and vegetables from Kerala state

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Saudi Arabia bans fruit and vegetables from Kerala state

Saudi Arabia has banned imports of frozen and processed fruit and vegetables from Kerala, citing the risk from an outbreak of Nipah virus.

The outbreak of the virus saw 244 suspected cases of Nipah recorded in the Kozhidoke and Malappruam districts of the city. Seventeen people - 14 in Kozhikode and three in Malappuram districts in Kerala - have died due to Nipah virus infection so far. Read Also: ASI unearths "first-ever" physical evidence of Copper-Bronze age chariots Secretion and excretion from a deceased person are considered equally infectious like that of a living infected person. But Health Minister KK Shailaja praised doctors for their swift efforts in what she called "containing the outbreak".

While WHO has said there have been documented cases of the virus transferring from human to human, researchers have warned that the deadly new avatar of the virus seen in India (with most cases being from human to human transfer) and frequent air travel across the world, the virus could rapidly spread around the world. "Be it private hospitals or government, or the state and central governments - all worked as a team", NDTV quoted Shylaja as saying. Dr R S Gopakumar, Health Officer of Kozhikode corporation handled 12 bodies and supervised the last rites. "His family didn't want to come for the funeral, so two of my colleagues and I did their last rites".

Although the transmission of the virus has stopped, the state's medical unit is still researching to identify how the first victim was infected. "We followed Ebola protocol for the burial", Dr Gopakumar said. But he wasn't responding well to the treatment.

"We urgently called them to the hospital".

As per the latest figures from the Kerala Health Ministry updated Thursday evening, 16 patients succumbed to the infection, excluding the first victim whose sample was never sent for testing. The next morning, our team of doctors suspected it to be Nipah based on the literature available and their symptoms. "Later, the lab reports confirmed Nipah".

Nipah Virus has taken a risky step. The "Manual on the Diagnosis of Nipah Virus Infection in Animals", issued by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations makes no mention of chicken or poultry at all.

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