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Amid Covid-19 crisis, Nipah virus haunts Kerala again as 12-year-old boy dies in hospital, centre rushes expert team

Samples of Plasma, CSF (Cerebrospinal fluid) and Serum of the boy were sent to the National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune and the test result came positive for Nipah virus.

Kerala continues to worry the nation on the health front as the state has reported the death of a 12-year old boy due to Nipah virus infection in north Kerala’s Kozhikode on Sunday morning at 5AM. The boy belonging to Choolur in Chathamangalam panchayat was hospitalized on September 1 with fever, myocarditis and encephalitis.

The last rites of the deceased was scheduled at 10 am under strict protocol. As precautionary measures, district and health authorities have kept the persons under observation who had come in touch with the deceased and collected samples of 17 of them for testing. Authorities have identified 188 primary contacts, of which, 20 persons are in high-risk category. They are being shifted to Kozhikode Medical College.

Among the 20 identified high-risk people, two have been identified with the symptoms of Nipah virus infection, according to Health Minister Veena George.

“We have identified 188 contacts till now. The surveillance team has marked 20 of them as high-risk contacts. Two of these high-risk contacts have symptoms. Both are health workers. One works with a private hospital, while the other is a staff member of Kozhikode Medical College hospital,” the minister told reporters.

Confirming the development Kerala Health Minister Veena George in Thrissur said that the boy admitted to a private hospital at Kozhikode died on Sunday due to Nipah virus infection. She also informed that samples of Plasma, CSF (Cerebrospinal fluid) and Serum were sent to the National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune and the test result came positive for Nipah virus.

Although health minister Veena George has told the people that there is no need for panic and the health department has taken all necessary steps, but common people are reasonably worried.  She added that the government will strictly follow the Nipah protocol to control the situation.

The Union Ministry of Health also shared information on the fresh case of Nipah adding “Centre rushes team to Kerala to support State in Public health measures.”

The Central Government has rushed a team of National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to the State to provide technical support. The team is reaching Kerala by today.

Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the Nipah virus has hit Kerala after a gap of three years. The last time it was reported was in May-June 2018. It had hit Kozhikode and Malappuram districts in Kerala the worst claiming 17 lives. A total of 23 cases were identified that time out of which 18 cases were confirmed by the lab testing. This was the first Nipah virus case in South Indian states. In June, 2019 a single case of Nipah was reported at Kochi in Ernakulam, luckily the person got cured.

Nipah is a zoonotic virus transmitted to humans from animals such as bats and pigs. The disease has a high fatality rate — above 80 % — with no known treatment and vaccine, and is genuinely a cause of concern.

Among the states, Kerala headed by Pinarayi Vijayan of Communist Party of India (Marxist) continues to report the highest number of Covid 19 cases even if a section of media is still peddling the famed Kerala model of Covid control.

 

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Staff reporter at OpIndia

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