New Delhi: A 39-year-old man tested positive for the Nipah virus, which was transmitted to him through direct contact with an infected person who died on August 30, State Health Minister Veena George said here on Friday (September 15). With the number of active cases rising to four, the state government has decided to test everyone who are on the high-risk contact list of the infected persons. Minister George said that the man was confirmed with the Nipah virus after his samples turned positive, taking the total infected in the state to six, of which two had died earlier.
The minister’s office today said that the person found infected had sought treatment at a private hospital where Nipah-infected persons were treated for other ailments earlier.
A high-level meeting was held at the Kozhikode Collectorate here today to take stock of the situation.
Besides George, Ministers P A Mohammed Riyas, Ahamed Devarkovil and A K Saseendran took part in the meeting. Briefing the media after the meeting, George said the health conditions of those affected, including the nine-year-old boy on ventilator support, were stable.
It is suspected that the patients under treatment were infected with the virus from a person who died on August 30, she said. Minister George added,
So, we have decided to test all those who are under high-risk contacts even though they don’t have any symptoms. Currently, we have two additional facilities in Kozhikode. We have a mobile lab from the Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology (RGCB) with two machines that can test 96 samples at a time.
As per protocol, only the samples of those who show symptoms can be checked.
But here we have decided to test the samples of all those who are in the high-risk category of contacts. We have the mobile lab from RGCB and the lab at Kozhikode Medical College Hospital.
Along with the mobile testing lab from RGCB, the mobile lab from Pune NIV has also reached the state, which will increase the speed of testing and confirming the results, she said.
The ICMR’s National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune had on Thursday sent its mobile BSL-3 (Biosafety Level-3) laboratory to Kozhikode to test the samples for the virus in the district where two deaths were recorded.
A five-member Central team comprising experts from the National Centre for Disease Control, RML Hospital and NIMHANS has been stationed in Kerala to take stock of the situation and assist the state government in the management of the Nipah infection.
This is the fourth time the viral infection has been confirmed in the state. It was detected in Kozhikode in 2018 and 2021 and in Ernakulam in 2019.
The district administration has already declared a holiday for educational institutions in Kozhikode on Saturday (September 16).
On Thursday, a team from the Union Health Ministry held a meeting with district administration in Kozhikode. The state government has strengthened measures to prevent the spread of infection, from advising people to maintaining special distance, wear masks and use sanitzers.
On Wednesday, a 24-year-old health worker became Kerala’s fifth confirmed Nipah case in the latest outbreak. World Health Organisation and ICMR studies have found that the entire state, not just Kozhikode, is prone to such infections. People living in forest areas have to take the highest precautions, it said, adding that the latest virus originated within five kilometres of a jungle area.
Antibodies Delivered To Fight Nipah Virus Infection
The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has delivered the antibody requested by the state to combat the deadly virus. A mobile laboratory was also sent to ground zero to enable the state to test samples. The monoclonal antibody was delivered in Kozhikode district. The antiviral is the only option available to the government to treat the virus, although its efficacy has not been clinically proven yet.
The ICMR’s National Institute of Virology in Pune sent its mobile BSL-3 (Biosafety level-3) laboratory to the district to test samples for the virus. A five-member central team comprising experts from the National Centre for Disease Control, RML Hospital and NIMHANS were stationed in Kerala on Thursday to take stock of the situation and assist the state government in the management of the Nipah infection.
Alerts Issued In Other States
Rajashthan: The state government directed medical officials to remain ‘alert’ regarding any Nipah outbreak in the wake of cases being reported from Kerala’s Kozhikode district. The medical and health services department director issued an advisory in this regard to the principals of all medical colleges and chief medical and health officers of all districts. The department also issued an advisory for health workers.
Karnataka: The state Health Department issued a circular to intensify surveillance in the districts bordering Kerala to prevent the transmission of the infection. In the circular, the department advised district authorities to set up check posts for fever surveillance at points of entry from Karnataka to Kerala. Intensify fever surveillance in bordering districts such as Chamarajanagar, Mysore, Kodagu, and Dakshin Kannada. Moreover, the Karnataka Health Department has advised people to avoid unnecessary travel from Karnataka to affected areas in Kerala
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