Nipah Virus: Kerala on alert, over 250 isolated, 11 with symptoms, says Health Minister

Kerala has come under alert after the number of people showing symptoms of the Nipah virus in the Kozhikode district of the state rose to 11. A 12-year-old boy had died due to the infection after which a Central health team was also sent to the state. 

Created On: Sep 7, 2021 16:37 IST
Nipah Virus case in Kerala
Nipah Virus case in Kerala

Nipah Virus in Kerala has bought the state under alert after the symptoms of the virus in Kozhikode district of the state rose to 11, from two a day before.

The Health Minister of Kerala Veena George informed that the State Health Department identified and isolated 250 people who had come in contact with the 12-year-old body who died due to Nipah Virus infection.

The Health Minister further said that 11 out of 38 people have shown symptoms who have been put in isolation at the Kozhikode Medical College Hospital. She also said that the samples of the 8 primary contacts had come back negative, which was a relief. 

Nipah Virus: Central team visited Kozikhode

A Central team had visited Kozhikode district in Kerala on September 5, 2021, after a 12-year old boy died after getting infected by Nipah Virus. The team has also collected samples of Rambutan fruits from the nearby vicinity in order to identify the source of the infection.

As per the official statement, the sample of the Rambutan fruits can help in identifying the source of the infection and will confirm whether the source of the infection was through a bat.

The Central team in Kerala has questioned the family and those close with the deceased in order to identify the food he consumed or the animals that he may have come in contact with.

Earlier on September 5, a public health team was rushed by the Central Government to the Kozhikode district in Kerala, as the state reported its first death due to Nipah Virus. In order to provide technical support, a team of the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) was sent.

Death due to Nipah Virus in Kozhikode:

Veena George, Health Minister of Kerala informed on September 4 that the National Institute of Virology, Pune had confirmed that a sample of a 12-year old boy from Kerala had turned Nipah Virus positive. The patient had passed away in the morning of September 5.

The minister further informed that till now, no one from the victim’s family or any other contacts has shown any symptoms of the deadly virus.

Nipah Virus case in Kozhikode: Instructions issued by the central team

•  The Central team visiting Kerala on the report of one death due to the Nipah Virus has advised everyone to be extra vigilant and to inform the health professionals as soon as possible if they observe similar symptoms.

•  The National Centre for Disease Control team has directly instructed the locals on the protocols to be followed in their homes as well as surroundings.

Strict protocols have been imposed within a three-kilometre radius of the Nipah Virus victim’s house in Kozhikode.

•  The official statement informed that the particular areas have been declared as the containment zone by the Central team. Similar cautionary steps have also been issued in the nearby areas of Kozhikode district, Kannur, and Malappuram district.

•  The team has advised the locals to follow the immediate public health measures. It will include active searches in the victim’s family, village, and the areas with similar terrain and active contact tracing during the past 12 days.

•  A strict quarantine of the contacts, isolation of any suspects, transportation, and collection of samples for lab testing have also been called by the Central team.

What is Nipah Virus?

As per the World Health Organisation (WHO), Nipah Virus is caused by fruit bats and is known to be potentially fatal to humans as well as animals.

Along with respiratory illness, the deadly virus results in headaches, muscular pain, nausea, dizziness, and fever.

According to WHO, Nipah Virus was first identified in 1998 during an outbreak of the disease that took place in Kampung Sungai Nipah, Malaysia.

The deadly virus first appeared in domestic pigs and has been found among several species of domestic animals including goats, cats, dogs, sheep, and horses. Nipah Virus is capable of infecting human beings as well and can also be fatal.

Nipah Virus in Kerala: Background

The Nipah Virus infection was confirmed for the first time in Kerala in 2018 with the blood and body fluid samples of two individuals who had died of viral fever.

This was the first time that the deadly disease was detected in the state. Nipah Virus is known to have a high fatality rate and spreads through pigs, bats, and other animals.

India, according to WHO, had in past had also documented the human-to-human transmission of the rate Nipah Virus.  

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