The Kerala government has strengthened surveillance and preventive steps as the Nipah virus infection was confirmed in the 23-year old patient in a private hospital.
The patient will not be shifted from the present hospital as it may lead to the spread of the infection, said Health Minister K.K. Shylaja. The hospital was taking good care of the patient, she added.
Principal Secretary (Health) Rajan Gobragade, speaking at the media briefing along with the Minister, said that steps had been initiated to look into the deaths registered in the State during the three weeks. The surveillance was to pick up any unnoticed case that had symptoms similar to Nipah, he said. This was to plug the spread of the infection and to trace its origin, he added.
Ms. Shylaja said that the health team would place on home quarantine people who had been in contact with a person reported with the infection to contain further spread of the virus.
Usually, the incubation period for the disease was said to be 14 days and the worldwide practice was to keep the patient in quarantine for a longer period, she added. The expert team here would be taking a decision on these matters, said the Minister.
A six-member team from various institutes under the Union Health Ministry are here to provide expertise on tackling the Nipah infection.
Dr. Animesh Ray, Associate Professor, Internal Medicine, All-India Institute of Medical Sciences, Dr. B. Anup Kumar, virologist, National Institute of Virology, Alappuzha, Dr. Vikram V. Holla, Assistant Professor, Neurology, NIMHANS, Dr. Sanket Kulkarni, Deputy Director, National Centre for Disease Control, New Delhi, Dr. K. Regu, Joint Director, Entomologist, NCDC, Kozhikode, and Dr. Chdiesh Nagarajan, Assistant Director, Microbiology (Zoonosis), NCDC, Delhi, would be working with the Kochi and Kozhikode teams.
A similar team was active during the infection in Kozhikode last year and they had worked along with the Kozhikode team that controlled all preventive activities.
Training had been going on in various batches for doctors and other healthcare workers since the last two days as the Kozhikode medical team comes with the previous experience in checking the spread of the virus.