Nearly a year after the outbreak in Kozhikode and Malappuram, the deadly Nipah has resurfaced in Kerala. It has been confirmed that a 23-year-old college student here is infected.
“The test results have come from the National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune, and it is positive for Nipah. The health authorities have made elaborate arrangements and medicines are in stock,” Health Minister K.K. Shylaja said here on Tuesday.
The Minister said 311 people from various districts with whom the student had interacted in recent times were under observation.
Three persons who attended to the student initially and one who studied with him were suffering from fever and sore throat. They had been shifted to an isolation ward set up at the Kalamassery Medical College Hospital in Kochi for a detailed examination. Their health condition was satisfactory, authorities said.
The student, hailing from North Paravur in Ernakulam district, studies in a college at Thodupuzha in Idukki district. The student, who was suffering from fever, had gone to Thrissur district with a group of students to attend a training programme there.
Ms. Shylaja said the student, who is being treated at a private hospital here, was not on any support system such as ventilator. “Good care is being given to the patient. The patient sometimes become restless due to fever.... We expect a good result,” she said.
The Minister urged the people not to panic and instead take precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the disease. “We have confidence that we can face it. We faced it in Kozhikode last year and contained it,” she said.
“From now on, there will be a high alert and three samples (blood, urine, and throat) from every person who shows symptoms of Nipah will be taken and sent to the NIV, Alappuzha, Pune, and Manipal,” said Health Secretary Rajan Khorbagade. He said experts from the Indian Council of Medical Research were in constant touch with the health authorities here.
The Centre rushed a six-member team to Kerala on Tuesday. Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan spoke to Ms. Shylaja to discuss the situation and assured her all support from the Centre.
The Health Ministry said the team, among them an epidemiologist, had been sent to the State for contact tracing for early detection of suspects and review isolation facilities.
A control room has been set up and the Strategic Health Operations Centre (SHOC) of the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has been activated, the phone number for which is 011-23978046, a statement stated.
(With inputs from agencies)