Kerala Nipah virus outbreak: Health department isues alert, government asks people not to panic. Top Developments

By: | Updated: May 22, 2018 11:38 AM

The state of Kerala is under high-alert after the outbreak of Nipah virus which is believed to have claimed the lives of 10 persons.

State of Kerala is under high-alert after the outbreak of Nipah virus. (Image: ANI)

The state of Kerala is under high-alert after the outbreak of Nipah virus. As per local dailies of Kerala, the death has risen to 8 persons while five more people were died due to high fever in Kozhikode district. At least sex persons were reported dead on Monday in Kozhikode, including three members in a family. On Tuesday, reports said that a nurse at Perambra Taluk Hospital passed away on Monday after possibly getting exposed to the deadly virus while tending to a Nipah virus infected patient.

The central team from the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) including its Director, Dr Sujeet Kumar Singh and Dr SK Jain, Head of Epidemiology, arrived on Monday to take stock of the situation. The central team also comprises officials from the Department of Animal Husbandry, National Institute of Immunology and Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

The disease first broke out in Malaysia’s Kampung Sungai in 1998, Singapore in 1999 and Bangladesh in 2004. The Nipah virus infection (NIV) is a disease associated with encephalitis. This virus was first discovered in domestic pigs. Apart from human beings, the disease also affected domestic animals like goats, sheep, cats, dogs etc. The virus can be transmitted to human beings by coming into direct contact with these animals. The symptoms of this virus include- drowsiness, headache, fever, disorientation, mental confusion and respiratory illness.

Top Developments:

– Two more patients admitted in Kozhikode Medical College hospital have died on Tuesday morning. It is being suspected that the death was due to Nipah Virus. The blood samples of both the patients were sent to laboratory for tests.

– The central team paid a visit to Changarothu and Perambra taluka, the place where the virus was first reported. The team members also urged the people not to panic. The central team will also probe the outbreak of Nipah virus.

– The state of Tamil Nadu has also stepped up surveillance in border districts. The Tamil Nadu health department has asked the officials of Coimbatore, Nilgiris and Kanyakumari to be extra careful. It also asked people not to pay heed to rumours. The authorities are also in constant touch with officials of Kerala.

“We are continuously monitoring the incidence of fever. We are seeing if there is any unusual increase in complaints of fever anywhere in the state and there is no such thing now,” Tamil Nadu Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan told PTI.

ALSO READ| What is Nipah virus? Know its symptoms, precautions and treatment

– The Kerala health department has taken all necessary measures to curb the spread of the virus. The department has also cancelled the leave of all doctors and health staff until further orders. It also asked all District Medical Officers (DMOs) to keep a close watch on the affected people. According to a senior official of state health department, 25 more patients are under observation. It opened a special ward in Kozhikode Medical College and Hospital for the patients. It also formed a special task force led by UV Jose, District Magistrate, Kozhikode.

– Kerala Chief Minister Pinarai Vijayan has said that the government is handling the situation will ‘utmost seriousness.’ In a series of a tweet on Monday, Vijayan asserted that 24-hour control room has been opened to monitor the issue. He also requested the people to follow guidelines and instructions of the health department in tackling the crisis.

– However, the virus poses less threat to people living in other parts of India. “There is no threat to other parts of the country including North India and Delhi as we hardly have bats in the cities. There is nothing to panic and it cannot be called an outbreak in the real sense, ” Atul Gogia, Senior Consultant, Department of Medicine, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital told IANS. Dr Gogia further added that the virus is spread by fruit bats, which can be traced in forests but due to urbanisation, they are found even in cities, towns etc.

– In view of the seriousness of the situation, the Kerala health department also conducted an emergency meeting in Kozhikode to deal with the issue. State health minister KK Shailaja has urged the people not to panic on the issue. It also directed the private hospitals not to deny in admitting patients suffering from fever.

“We have listed the persons who have got in touch with the patients. They have been isolated as a precautionary measure,” Shailaja told PTI. Shailaja and State Labour minister TP Ramakrishnan were camping in Kozhikode to monitor the situation and held discussions with officials.

– As per the World Health Organisation (WHO), there are no such drugs and vaccines to cure Nipah virus. The signs and symptoms of the virus such as – drowsiness, headache, fever, disorientation, mental confusion and respiratory illness can progress an individual to coma within 24 to 48 hours.

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