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Suspected Nipah Case in Ernakulam: Kerala Health Minister Urges People to Be Alert

PTI , Newsclick Report |
The Kerala government says a final confirmation is yet to be made by the National Institute of Virology in Pune.
Nipah virus Kerala

Representational image. | Image courtesy: New Indian Express

The fatal virus Nipah, which had rattled Kerala about a year ago, seems to have resurfaced in the state. While addressing the media on Monday morning, state health minister KK Shailaja said a 23-year-old college student, admitted to a private hospital in Kochi, is suspected to have been infected with the Nipah virus.

However, a final confirmation is yet to be made by the National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune and necessary precautions have been taken and isolation wards have been set up at the Kalamassery Medical College Hospital in Kochi, the minister said.

Earlier, there have been suspected cases and samples sent for tests but results had turned out to be negative, she said.

“In this case, the patient’s samples have been sent to NIV, Pune, and the government is awaiting the result. Only after we get the report from the institute, can it be confirmed if the patient is infected by the virus or not,” the Minister told the reporters in Thiruvananthapuram.

The student, hailing from Ernakulam district, had studied in a college in Thodupuzha in Idukki and had stayed in Thrissur recently, in connection with a camp. The samples of 22 students who were with him in the camp have also been tested and nothing has been found so far.

According to Thrissur District Medical Officer Dr. Reena, the student was in Thrissur only for four days and had been suffering from fever. There were 16 other students with him. Six of them, who came in direct contact with him, are under observation, she said.

The Idukki district medical authorities said the college in Thodupuzha, where the student is studying, is also being monitored.

The Minister said there was no need for people to panic as the government has taken all precautionary measures, and asked all private hospitals to inform them if suspected cases are reported.

Government, private and peripheral hospitals have been asked to be cautious, she said, adding a high-level meeting of health officials would be held in Kochi this afternoon.

According to State government figures, the Nipah virus had claimed 17 lives – 14 in Kozhikode and three in neighbouring Malappuram in May last year.

Also read: Nipah Lessons: ‘It is High Time ‘One Health’ Concept is Applied in Public Health Surveillance’

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