Nipah virus attack recedes: Kerala minister

No fresh cases reported in the past few days

Kozhikode: Kerala’s health minister on June 3 claimed recession in the second wave of Nipah virus attack in the state.

KK Shailaja was speaking to media persons after participating in a review meeting chaired by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. The minister participated in the meeting through video-conferencing system.

The meeting noted that the Nipah outbreak was brought under control. “There is no need for panic. The anxieties regarding Nipah virus will end by mid-June,” the meeting evaluated.

The minister said everyone, except those under the observation of health department as they were in close contact with the affected, can travel and go for daily chores.

Shailaja said that the department will continue observation until June 30.

“A high degree of alertness should be maintained till June 30. We are trying to ensure that not even a small lapse occur during this period. A frightening situation does not exist in the state,” the minister said.

The meeting decided to distribute food grain kits to people put under observation. The food grain kits are being distributed as those under observation have to stay in their houses only.

Meanwhile the Manipal Centre for Virus Research has confirmed that the situation is totally under control, with no new cases being reported in the region. The center attached to the Manipal Academy of Higher Education has closely monitored the outbreak.

However, some 2,000 fever cases are under surveillance, to ensure that the afflicted are not infected by the virus.

Virologist Dr G Arun Kumar, who heads MCVR stationed in Perambra in Kozhikode district along with his team, told reporters that so far 18 people tested positive for NiV, ever since the emergence of the disease in the state.

In the first case which resulted in death, the afflicted person couldn’t be tested. In total, 16 people have died due to the virus. Currently, two patients who tested positive for NiV are under hospitalization. No other cases have been reported in the past few days. All those who died due to NiV were infected at the hospital by the first person who was admitted for treatment there,” the doctor said.

The virologist expressed happiness over the early detection of the virus, or else it would have led to a serious outbreak. “Early detection as well as alertness of the health department helped in bringing the disease under control at a nascent stage. NiV cases were first reported on May 4 or May 5, but its impact was minimized within 25 days.”

Arun said the first person who died due to NiV was infected by a bat. “It is proven across the globe that fruit bats are responsible for the outbreak of NiV. However, the virus is present only in one or two bats among a colony of bats, which numbers thousand. The Kerala government had tested a few bats recently, but results came out negative, because the virus is not uniform. As many as a thousand bats need to be tested to ascertain the presence of the virus,” added Arun.

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