One more case of Nipah virus has been confirmed in Kerala, in a 39-year-old man in Kozhikode, pushing up the number of active cases of the brain-damaging virus in the State to four, state health department said on Friday.
With this the total tally of Nipah virus infections from the virus in Kerala has been recorded at six, including two deaths.
According to the state health minister's office, the 39-year-old patient is under observation in a hospital in Kozhikode.
The state government has strengthened measures to prevent the spread of the infection.
Two deaths from the Nipah virus in Kozhikode took place on August 30 and September 11.
Kerala has shut some schools and offices this week as officials raced to halt the spread of the deadly Nipah virus, after two people succumbed in the fourth outbreak of the virus since the year 2018.
Affected gram panchayats in the Kozhikode area have been declared as quarantine zones.
Samples of 15 people of those in the high-risk category in the contact list have been sent for testing.
The health official earlier said that the contact list contains 950 people of which 213 are in the high-risk category. A total of 287 health workers are also there in the contact list.
Four people in high-risk categories are currently in a private hospital and 17 people are under surveillance at the Kozhikode medical college.
Union Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare, Dr Bharati Pravin Pawar on September 14 visited the Indian Council of Medical Research - National Institute of Virology (ICMR-NIV), in Pune on Thursday and reviewed steps taken for containment of Nipah virus outbreak in Kerala.
A multi-disciplinary team led by Dr Mala Chhabra has been deputed by Union Health Ministry to support the state in public health measures to deal with this outbreak, the minister said.
High-level teams from the Centre and ICMR-NIV with mobile units equipped with BSL-3 (Biosafety Level 3) laboratory have reached Kozhikode and for on-ground testing.
Kerala Health Minister Veena George said on September 14, a high-level meeting of the state government was held and after the Principal Secretary had a meeting with officials of the Union Government.
Veena George also said that the monoclonal antibody which is required for the treatment of the Nipah infection and requested from the State government from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has reached Kerala on September 15.
The Health Minister said a fully-equipped mobile virology testing laboratory of the Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology (RGCB), Thiruvananthapuram has also been sent to Kozhikode.
RGCB Director Prof Chandrabhas Narayana said a group of six experts have been made available in the mobile unit, which can give results within six hours. The unit is capable of testing up to 192 samples in a day.
"Results generally take about six hours . From our experience we can see in six hours the results can be get . We should be able to give to the Centre and state governments directly. They will be declaring the results."
Meanwhile, the government of the neighbouring State of Karnataka has issued a circular and has advised the general public to avoid unnecessary travel to affected areas of Kerala. It has also directed the official to intensify surveillance in the bordering districts to Kerala (Kodagu, Dakshin Kannada, Chamrajanagara and Mysore) and at the points of entry to Karnataka.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), Nipah Virus is caused by fruit bats and is potentially fatal to humans as well as animals. Along with respiratory illness, it is also known to cause fever, muscular pain, headache, fever, dizziness, and nausea.
Earlier in Kerala there was a Nipah virus outbreak in the Kozhikode and Malappuram districts in 2018 and later in 2021, a case of Nipah virus was reported in Kozhikode.
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