Deadly virus spreads in southern India, transferred through fruit bats

WATCH: What is the deadly virus in India being transferred through fruit bats?

Officials say a deadly virus has killed at least three people in southern India, and medical teams have been dispatched to the area amid reports that up to six other people could have died from the disease and others are badly ill.

Kerala state health minister K.K. Shailaja said the three who died of Nipah virus are all from the same family.

READ MORE: National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg studies Nipah virus

Nipah, which was first identified during a 1998 outbreak in Malaysia, is often carried by fruit bats, but can also be spread through human-to-human contact, according to the World Health Organization.

There is no vaccine for Nipah, which can cause raging fevers, convulsions and vomiting. The only treatment is supportive care to control complications and keep patients comfortable.

It has a mortality rate of up to 75 per cent.

© 2018 The Canadian Press

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