Kerala: Two die of Nipah Virus, Three More Cases Reported, Containment Measures Increased
Family members of the patients admitted at the Kozhikode Medical College wear safety masks after the 'Nipah' virus outbreak, in Kozhikode. Image Courtesy: PTI
Two people from Kozhikode district have died of the Nipah virus, and three more have tested positive. Two close contacts and relatives of the deceased have turned positive and are undergoing treatment. One of the two health workers, attached to a private hospital in Kozhikode, who developed symptoms of Nipah, has contracted the infection as per the reports of the National Virology Institute (NIV) Pune, taking the total number of active cases to five.
The virus strain found in the patients has been identified as the Bangladesh strain.
The health department has identified 789 people to be in contact with the infected people, including 157 health workers. The route map of the infected individuals has also been published. 58 wards in nine village panchayats have been announced as containment zones. The district administration has announced holidays for all educational institutions in the district on September 14 and 15 as a precautionary measure.
Meanwhile, the minister for health, women's and child development, Veena George, has urged the people from Kozhikode to refrain from holding large public gatherings until September 24 and has announced crowd control norms in the district.
The antibodies for the virus will be soon available, as the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) airlifted the dosages.
FIRST DEATH ON AUGUST 30
With five confirmed cases and three active cases of Nipah virus infection, Kerala has geared up to fight the virus infection for the third time, the first two being in 2018 and 2021. The death of a 49-year-old patient in Kozhikode on August 30 did not raise much suspicion since he was suffering from liver cirrhosis.
The health department raised the alarms as four of his family members reported high fever, including his 9-year-old son, who is still under ventilator support. Another person, who was found to be in contact with the first person, died on September 11. Both persons have visited the same hospital for treatment of fever.
The Nipah virus, which affects the brain of human beings, is considered to be spread from fruit-eating bats. The virus spreads from human to human and has high mortality but is less infectious.
With the samples of the two deceased being confirmed to have Nipah infection, the state has adopted measures to contain the spread. Three more positive cases, including a health worker at a private hospital, have put the health department on high alert. Two people from Malappuram and Thiruvananthapuram districts, respectively, with Nipah symptoms have been isolated.
The patients with symptoms have been isolated, and few are under treatment. The contacts have been categorised as low-risk and high-risk based on their comorbidities.
PRECAUTIONARY MEASURES IN FULL SWING
The health department has begun the operation of control rooms in Kozhikode from September 13. The minister said contract tracing and surveillance had been initiated a day earlier. The control room will coordinate the contract tracing, treatment, medical and safety equipment, coordination between different hospitals, data management and psychological counselling for the needy.
The department has created an exclusive psycho-social support team. The team will provide support to the primary and secondary contacts of the positive patients to overcome the anxiety.
People are banned from moving in and out of the 58 containment zones identified as of 8 pm on September 13. Government and quasi-government organisations, education institutions, Anganwadi and banks will remain closed in the zones, while shops selling essential items will remain open from 7 am to 5 pm. There is no time restriction for health centres and medical stores.
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