**Kozhikode (Kerala):** With the death of one more patient who tested positive for Nipah virus (NiP) on Thursday morning, the disease has claimed 12 lives in Kerala, officials said.
The death of Moosa was confirmed at a private hospital where he was being treated. Early this month, two of his sons and a relative also passed away. They were the first cases of NiP that were reported last week.
Meanwhile, though the incidence of patients coming for treatment with symptoms of NiP is on the decline, Kozhikode Collector U.V. Jose has banned till May 31 all public meetings and even training courses including tuitions to avoid assembly of people.
The health department said on Thursday that a total of 160 samples were sent for testing to Pune. Of the 22 results that had come, 14 had tested positive.
Meanwhile the authorities have come out with a protocol to be carried out when the last rites of victims of NiP are carried out.
While cremation is favoured as the best method to stop the further spread of infection, in case families opt for burial, the body will have to be covered in a polythene bag and then put into a very deep pit.
The Kozhikode Medical College has 136 patients while nearby Malappuram district has 24 who are under observation.
A large number of medical professionals and health experts deputed by the Centre, the state government and the private sector are working in Kozhikode and Malappuram by meeting those who are under observation besides carrying out awareness programmes, an official said.
The authorities in Kozhikode on Thursday decided to take action against two staff members at the state-owned crematorium here for not cooperating with the conduct of the last rites.
Transmission of NiV takes place through direct contact with infected bats, pigs or other NiV-infected persons.