The number of people confirmed dead due to the Nipah virus infection in Kerala rose to 11 on Thursday morning, PTI reported. Kozhikode resident V Moosa, 61, succumbed to the infection days after the his two sons and sister-in-law died. He had been on ventilator support.

Thirteen out of about 160 samples sent to a virology institute have tested positive for the virus, Kozhikode medical officer Dr Jayasree E said. Of the 13 confirmed cases, 11 have died.

Even before Moosa’s death, the Union Health Ministry put the toll at 11 on Wednesday evening. But the ministry did not specify whether Nipah virus was confirmed to be the cause in all cases. The reason for one death has not yet been ascertained, Jayasree said.

The state government issued an advisory asking travellers to avoid visiting the four districts of Kozhikode, Malappuram, Wayanad and Kannur. “Travelling to any part of Kerala is safe,” Health Secretary Rajeev Sadanandan said. “However, if travellers wish to be extra cautious, they may avoid the four districts.”

Eight of the 11 deaths were reported from Kozhikode and three from Malappuram. Eighteen patients are undergoing treatment.

The government called for an all-party meeting in Kozhikode on Friday to discuss the matter.

Expert teams from the National Centre for Disease Control and All India Institute of Medical Sciences are camping in Kerala to study the situation.

Dead bats scare residents in Himachal town

Meanwhile, residents in Himachal Pradesh’s Nahan town panicked after more than 18 dead bats were discovered on Wednesday in the premises of a government school, ANI reported. Fruit bats are believed to spread the Nipah virus.

Officers of the health, animal husbandry and forest departments arrived at the school and took samples of the dead bats. They have denied rumours that the bats may spread the infection.