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Kerala: Nipah virus outbreak pushing number of active cases

September 15, 2023 2:55 PM IST

India | Health | Kerala | Nipah Virus

Sparking a health crisis in India’s southern state Kerala, Nipah virus once again seems to spread its infection. According to the latest reports, in Kerala, samples of 15 persons belonging to the high risk category included in the Nipah contact list in Kozhikode were sent for testing on Thursday (September 14), out of which 6 resulted to be positive cases, while 11 samples collected earlier tested negative for it.

As part of the Nipah surveillance, 234 individuals were located yesterday. There are currently 950 people on the contact list, with 213 falling into the high-risk category. Among those listed, 287 are healthcare workers. Notably, two deaths, one on August 30 and the other on September 11, have been reported so far.

After a comprehensive review meeting with senior officials, State Health Minister Veena George shared that they have taken proactive steps, including setting up isolation wards in private hospitals as a precautionary measure. Moreover, strict directives have been issued to ensure an adequate stock of medicines and essential protective gear. In addition, she encouraged officials to collaborate with the police to locate individuals on the contact list using mobile tower location data. Meanwhile, health authorities have asked public not to handle carcasses of animals like pigs and bats themselves.

The Kozhikode district administration has extended the holiday for all educational institutions to include tomorrow. Similarly, the Administrator of Mahe, an enclave near Kozhikode under the Union Territory of Puducherry, has also declared a holiday for all educational institutions today and tomorrow.

Union Minister of State for Health Dr.Bharati Pravin Pawar also reviewed the steps taken on containment of Nipah Virus Outbreak in Kozhikode. Dr Pawar visited the Indian Council of Medical Research – National Institute of Virology (ICMR-NIV) in Pune and took stock of preparations in this regard.

The Nipah outbreak was first detected in 2018, which tragically resulted in 17 fatalities among the 18 confirmed cases. It caught the state health department completely unprepared. The government had no prior experience in dealing with a disease carrying such a high mortality rate. During that period, the disease was detected only after the virus had already begun spreading among humans and had claimed a few lives.

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