Even as the Health Department is clueless on the origin of the Nipah virus that claimed 17 lives in the State, a virology expert has said the outbreak has been effectively contained and cautioned people to continue to keep vigil. As per reports on Saturday, initial tests on fruit-eating bats suspected of carrying the Nipah virus showed no sign of the disease. District Animal Husbandry Officer A.C. Mohandas told reporters that samples of three fruit-eating bats found in the neighbourhood of the family of the initial victims of Nipah virus, along with urine samples, blood and serum of a pet rabbit at the victims’ house were sent for testing.
Director of Health Services R.L. Saritha said that a team from the National Institute of Epidemiology, Chennai, had been roped in to continue the efforts.
No confirmed cases
Meanwhile, 13 more persons have been admitted to the Government Medical College Hospital in Kozhikode with suspected symptoms taking the total number of persons under observation to 29. So far, 201 samples have been tested. The eight reports that came on Saturday were all tested negative. With 17 out of the 19 confirmed cases being dead, the remaining two tested negative and no more positive cases were reported.
Not a Nipah death
On the other hand, a patient who was under observation at the Government Medical College Hospital in Kozhikode for symptoms of Nipah infection died on Saturday, though her samples tested negative twice and hence could not be considered a Nipah death. Health Minister K.K. Shylaja told reporters after a review meeting that the patient, Roja from Thalassery, was undergoing treatment at the Pariyaram Medical College. She was brought to the Kozhikode MCH only recently when she showed Nipah symptoms.