Kozhikode: Though the Nipah virus may not have spread beyond Kerala, the health department has put as many as 175 persons under observation.

Health minister K K Shailaja said here today that 175 persons are being monitored. The relatives and close friends of those who had died due to Nipah virus are being monitored.

The minister said 15 persons were confirmed with Nipah virus and 12 persons passed away due to the fatal virus exclusing the first death of Sabith. Sabith’s death was not confirmed of Nipah.

The minister said the origin of Nipah virus in Kozhikode has been centered in one place. The health minister assured that there is no need for any scare.

Another death was reported on Saturday, the total number of deaths due to Nipah virus has reached 13. The majority of the deaths have been reported from Kozhikode district with some from the nearby Malappuram district in Kerala.

The samples of fruit eating bats are being collected from nearby Perambra and the health officials are facing difficulties in collecting the samples due to the heavy rain that is lashing the area from yesterday. According to an official, the droppings, urine and secretions of bats would also be sent for testing.

The government is making all efforts to send the samples for examination by Monday.

Even as incidence of fresh cases in Kerala has come down, state health authorities claim things are under control and the Union Health Ministry maintains virus outbreak is a localised occurrence and there is no need to panic, fear runs high across the country.