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Death toll from Nipah virus rises to 16 in India’s Kerala

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NEW DELHI — The death toll in Nipah virus outbreak in India’s Kerala state has risen to 16, with the death of two more persons in southern state, officials said Thursday.

“A 56-year-old man and a 28-year-old youth died late Wednesday night at Kozhikode Medical College Hospital in the state’s Kozhikode district, the epicenter of the Nipah virus outbreak,” a senior health official said.

Two more persons, confirmed of having contracted the virus are being treated at KMCH, he said.

Apart from the 16 deaths in Kerala’s Kozhikode and Mallapuram districts, 94 people have been quarantined in their homes while 17 others are under treatment in hospitals. “All steps to prevent the spread of the virus have been taken,” state Health Minister K K Shailaja said.

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Besides, 1,353 people who had been in contact with the affected persons before the confirmation of the disease, are under observation, the official said.

The outbreak of the Nipah virus infection, a newly emerging zoonosis that causes severe disease in both animals and humans, is suspected to be from an unused well in Perambra which was infested with bats.

The natural host of the virus is believed to be fruit bats of the Pteropodidae family, Pteropus genus.

Health officials have identified the bat-infested well in the house in Kozhikode district as the likely epicenter of the outbreak of Nipah virus in this country.

This is the third outbreak of Nipah virus in India. Two other outbreaks of the virus were reported in 2001 and 2007, respectively, in eastern state of West Bengal that shares its border with Bangladesh, claiming 50 lives.

Agencies

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Suicide can’t be predicted by asking about suicidal thoughts : Study

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Most people who died of suicide deny they experience suicidal thoughts when asked by doctors in the weeks and months leading up to their death, a major Australian study has found.

The findings, co-authored by clinical psychiatrist and Professor Matthew Large from UNSW’s School of Psychiatry, Sydney that published in the journal BJPsych Open The meta-analysis challenge the widely-held assumption that psychiatrists can predict who will suicide by asking if they are preoccupied with thoughts of killing themselves.

The study showed that 80% of patients who were not undergoing psychiatric treatment and who died of suicide reported not to have suicidal thoughts when asked by their psychiatrist or GP.

“If you meet someone who has suicidal ideation there is a 98 per cent chance that they are not going to suicide,” said Professor Large, an international expert on suicide risk assessment who also works in the emergency department of a major Sydney hospital.

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“But what we didn’t know was how frequently people who go on to suicide have denied having suicidal thoughts when asked directly,” he added.

“This study proves we can no longer ration psychiatric care based on the presence of suicidal thoughts alone. We need to provide high-quality, patient-centred care for everyone experiencing mental illness, whether or not they reveal they are experiencing suicidal thoughts,” Professor Large said.

About one in 10 people will have suicidal ideation in their lifetime. But the study showed suicidal ideation alone was not rational grounds for deciding who gets treatment and who does not, Professor Large said.

“We know that suicide feeling is pretty common and that suicide is actually a rare event, even among people with severe mental illness,” Professor Large added.

Suicidal ideation tells us an awful lot about how a person is feeling, their psychological distress, sometimes their diagnosis and their need for treatment but it’s not a meaningful test of future behaviour.

Suicidal feelings can fluctuate rapidly and people may suicide very impulsively after only a short period of suicidal thoughts.

But, people had good reasons not to disclose thoughts of suicide, fearing stigma, triggering over-reactions or upsetting family and friends, and being involuntarily admitted for psychiatric treatment, Professor Large said.

Professor Large emphasized that clinicians should not assume that patients experiencing mental distress without reporting suicidal ideas were not at elevated risk of suicide.

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