Nipah virus has claimed the life of a 12-year-old boy in the Kozhikode of Kerala, prompting the Centre to rush a health team to the district with the state government saying there is no need to panic. A team of the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has been sent to provide technical support to the state, the Union ministry of health and family welfare said.
Kerala health minister Veena George said the infection was confirmed by the National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune on Saturday night. “Three samples—plasma, CSF and serum—were found infected. He was admitted to the hospital with a heavy fever four days ago. But on Saturday, his condition became worse. We had sent his samples for testing the day before yesterday,” the minister was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.
“We had a meeting with the ministers from the district along with concerned officials about the Nipah virus. A team will be formed to handle the situation. We have initiated the contact tracing measures,” she also said. “As of now, there is no need to panic, but we need to exercise caution,” she said, adding that no one from the boy’s family or other contacts has any symptoms of the Nipah virus.
Centre advises immediate public health measures to handle Nipah virus
1. Active case search in the family, families, village and areas with similar topography, especially Malappuram
2. Active contact tracing during the past 12 days
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3. Strict quarantine of the contacts and isolation of any suspects
4. Collection and transportation of samples for laboratory testing
Kerala government focusses on contract tracing
1. George said none of the close contacts of the boy is showing any symptoms as of now and that the health department has already traced all those who came in contact with the child.
2. “The patient was first taken to a private hospital, then to the medical college and from there again shifted to a private hospital. So we have traced all his contacts. The friends he played within his locality, his cousins and others, the health department had completed the identification and tracing of all these contacts,” George said.
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3. Police have cordoned off an area of a three-kilometre radius around the boy’s house. They have said all their basic needs will be met by authorities.
4. A high alert has been sounded in the neighbouring Malappuram and Kannur districts.
The first Nipah virus disease outbreak in south India was reported in the Kozhikode district of Kerala on May 19, 2018—there have been 17 deaths and 18 confirmed cases as of June 1, 2018. World Health Organization (WHO) said that theNipah virus is caused by fruit bats and is potentially fatal to humans as well as animals. It is also known to cause fever, muscular pain, headache, fever, dizziness, and nausea along with respiratory illness.