New Delhi: The Kerala government has strengthened measures to prevent the spread of the Nipah virus after the brain-damaging infection killed three people since August 30 and infected two others in the Kozhikode district. Of the three people who lost their lives to the viral infection included two adults and a nine-year-old boy. Considering the serious nature of the disease, the district administration declared seven village panchayats as containment zones. In a social media post, District Collector A Geetha informed that the panchayats declared as containment zones included Atanchery, Maruthonkara, Tiruvallur, Kuttiyadi, Kayakkodi, Villyapalli, and Kavilumpara.
What Is Nipah Virus?
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Nipah virus (NiV) infection is a zoonotic illness that is transmitted to people from animals, through contaminated food, or directly from person-to-person. The animal host reservoir for NiV is the fruit bat. In infected people, it causes a range of illnesses, from asymptomatic (subclinical) infection to acute respiratory illness and severe inflammation in the brain.
Here is the list of measures the Kerala government has issued to prevent the rise in the Nipah virus cases:
- People living in the containment zones are prohibited from travelling in or out of the zones until further notice. The police have been deployed to cordon off the areas.
- People are advised to maintain social distance, wear masks, and use sanitisers.
- All the stores will be closed except the ones selling essential commodities and medical supplies.
- The stores selling essential goods will be functional from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., whereas pharmacies and health centres will be open all time.
- Local government institutions and village offices will be functional with bare minimum staff.
- Educational institutions, banks, government or quasi-government institutions, and Anganwadis will not be functional.
- Buses or vehicles commuting on national highways through the containment zones will not be stopped in the affected areas.
- The Kerala Health Department has contacted the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) to ensure the availability of monoclonal antibodies for the treatment of Nipah patients admitted at a private hospital.
- The state Health Department the availability of PPE kits for patient care, N95 masks, and other protective equipment for the medical staff.
Soon after the Nipah virus cases were confirmed in the Kozhikode district, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan urged people not to panic and to take precaution instead. He said,
Everyone should strictly follow the instructions of the health department and the police and fully cooperate with the restrictions.
Talking to reporters in Kozhikode on Tuesday (September 13), state Health Minister Veena George said one of the people who was infected with the virus was a nine-year-old boy. Besides, out of the five samples tested at the Pune Institute of Virology, three have tested positive for the virus, she added.
The samples of the person who died on Monday and two others under treatment, including the nine-year-old boy, have tested positive.
Earlier this week, the cause of the two fatalities reported was unknown. It was after Union Health Minister Dr Mansukh Mandaviya sent a central team of experts to Kozhikode that the cause was identified. Following the deaths, the Kerala Health Department has sounded an alert in Kozhikode, Kannur, Wayanad, and Malappuram districts.
— ANI (@ANI) September 12, 2023
Kerala has also set up a Nipah control room in Kozhikode, and the numbers are:
- 0495 2383100
- 0495 2383101
- 0495 2384100
- 0495 2384101
- 0495 2386100
(With inputs from ANI and PTI)
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