All arrangements are in place to contain the spread of Nipah virus which has infected four people in Kozhikode, Kerala Health Minister Veena George informed the State Assembly on Wednesday.

Of the four positive cases, two people have succumbed, while the remaining are under close medical attention in the district.

"A team of NIV Pune officials, besides epidemiological experts from Chennai, will arrive in Kozhikode. The Indian Council of Medical Research  (ICMR) has been asked to ensure the availability of monoclonal antibody medicines, which are administered to the Nipah patients," said the Minister.

"There are two epicentres of the virus in Kozhikode and the district authorities are making sure that things are kept under close scrutiny. The route map of the four positive patients will soon be prepared," she added.

As many as 43 wards in seven village councils in the district have been declared as "containment" zones and in these places, barring medical shops and state government revenue offices, others have been asked not to open. The schools in these zones will remain closed and have been asked to adopt online mode of education.

Minister George said that the health authorities have, so far, identified 168 people, including 127 health professionals, who came in contact with the infected persons and have asked everyone in the district to wear masks.

It was on Tuesday morning that the sample of a person, who died at Kozhikode following fever and breathlessness on Monday, first tested positive for the virus.

The present cases have been reported about 15 km from where the initial Nipah virus outbreak in southern India was first identified in Kozhikode in
May 2018 and then again in 2021.

Nipah virus infection is basically a zoonotic disease which can be transmitted from animals to humans. Besides, it can spread through contaminated food or through contact.