Kozhikode, Malappuram Nipah-free

No new positive cases reported from the two districts after May 31, says Health Minister

July 02, 2018 12:16 am | Updated 12:17 am IST - Kozhikode

 Ministers T.P. Ramakrishnan, K.K. Shylaja and A.K. Saseendran about to honour Sajeesh (seen behind), the husband of nurse Lini, who died of Nipah, in Kozhikode on Sunday.

Ministers T.P. Ramakrishnan, K.K. Shylaja and A.K. Saseendran about to honour Sajeesh (seen behind), the husband of nurse Lini, who died of Nipah, in Kozhikode on Sunday.

A day after the deadline for the Nipah surveillance measures ended, the State government officially declared Kozhikode and Malappuram districts free of the virus infection, albeit temporarily.

Health Minister K.K. Shylaja made an announcement to this effect on Sunday at an event to honour health workers and others who helped contain the infection in the two districts. The family members of nurse Lini, who succumbed to the infection while treating a victim, too were felicitated.

“For the past two months, Kozhikode was in the grip of fear because of the rare Nipah virus infection. The Health Department could contain this highly infectious disease through systematic work. Though we lost 16 precious lives in this fight, we could also save two from its clutches. Though no new positive cases were reported after May 31, the surveillance measures were continued till June 30. As there have been no reports of another round of infection, Kozhikode and Malappuram districts have been declared free of Nipah temporarily,” the Health Minister said.

Recalling the sequence of events, from the reporting of the first case, Ms. Shylaja said the government had learnt a lot of lessons from the outbreak. “There were moments when all of us were caught off guard. One was when the District Medical Officer V. Jayasree said she was suffering from fever. We were relieved when it turned out to be flu,” she said.

The Minister said that the human monoclonal antibody procured from Australia to treat Nipah-infected patients would be used for the research project the government was planning to take up to counter possible future outbreaks.

Rajeev Sadanandan, Additional Chief Secretary (Health), said there had been a second round of Nipah infection in places where it had been reported earlier. “We are ready to face it as we have recorded the valuable lessons from the first outbreak. Studies on its different aspects are on and the research project will focus on inventing a drug to eliminate the virus,” Dr. Sadanandan added.

Ministers T.P. Ramakrishnan and A.K. Saseendran, Mayor Thottathil Raveendran, MLAs from the district, and senior officials from the Health Department and district administration were present.

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