The Kerala Public Service Commission on Friday postponed all examinations scheduled till June 16 because of the outbreak of the infection caused by the Nipah virus. Recruitment tests for several jobs in multiple government departments were scheduled between June 2 and June 16.

Meanwhile, state health minister KK Shailaja asked citizens not to panic, even as the Nipah outbreak toll climbed to 17 on Thursday.

She also warned of a second possible outbreak. “We had indicated at the outset itself, there could be a possible second outbreak and the vulnerable are those who would have in come in contact with the affected,” IANS quoted her as saying. “All such people have to be closely watched... tests will reveal only at the appropriate time when the symptoms of Nipah virus surface, so all those who have come in direct contact with the earlier affected have to see they get in touch with the special control room set up in Kozhikode.”

As many as 1,407 people, most of them in Kozhikode and Malappuram districts, have been quarantined in their homes and are under observation, The News Minute reported. Nine people are under observation at a hospital in Kozhikode, state health director RL Saritha said on Wednesday after two people died of the virus. She said she had not received any information about the death of an Indian Army soldier, who is suspected to have died of Nipah in Kolkata earlier this week.

The virus can be transferred from animals to humans. It causes fever and cold-like symptoms, before quickly advancing to encephalitis, which is inflammation of the brain, and myocarditis, or inflammation of the heart. There is no vaccine or cure for Nipah at present.