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Seventeen Nipah deaths keeps health officials on toes

Jun 02, 2018

The Nipah mystry continues to haunt health officials and the Health department of the government of Kerala as 17 of the 18 people who tested positive for the Nipah virus so far have died and the remaining one is presently undergoing treatment.

Seventeen people have lost their lives to the Nipah virus in Kerala, with one more person succumbing to it on today.

The victim was a 39-year-old woman, who was under observation for Nipah virus symptoms. Kerala health minister K K Shailaja, however said that the medical samples sourced from the woman during in the course of her observation were found to be negative. According to an official of the state government's health department, the woman fell ill after she had accompanied a patient to Kozhikode Medical College Hospital.

She was shifted from the Pariyaram Medical College to the Kozhikode Medical College hospital as she showed symptoms similar to that of the Nipah virus.

The state's health authorities had drawn up a list of 1,949 people who had come in contact with the Nipah-affected persons to monitor their health condition. Health department sources said 18 people have tested positive for the Nipah virus so far, of whom 17 have died so far and the remaining one is presently undergoing treatment.

According to the sources, the number of samples tested for Nipah virus is 196, of which 178 have tested negative.

Earlier in New Delhi today, union minister for health and family welfare J P Nadda reviewed the ground situation with the health minister of Kerala and took stock of the public health measures in the affected areas. Officials of the health ministry reiterated how, on Nadda's directions last week, a multi-disciplinary central team led by the director, National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and including experts from NCDC, AIIMS, Safdarjung hospital, EMR division, NIV Pune was immediately deployed in Kozikode.

The officials have been constantly monitoring the situation of the Nipah Virus Disease and supporting the State Health Authorities in managing the outbreak. After reviewing the situation, the Central Team suggested triage of Nipah cases and establishment of dedicated isolation facilities in district and strict infection control practices. Majority of the cases were found to be having contact with cases of Nipah virus disease.

The central teams recommended enlisting and daily follow up of all contacts. After reviewing the cases of all the patients who have lost their lives, the central high-level team opined that the Nipah virus disease was only a local occurrence and not a major outbreak. The team further fine-tuned the draft guidelines, case definitions, advisory for healthcare workers, information to the general public, advisories for sample collection and transportation accordingly.

The treatment procedure adopted by the hospitals for the patients with specific non-specific symptoms has been found effective according to health ministry officials in New Delhi. The suspect cases admitted in the Kozhikode Medical College and Trivandrum Medical College are under observation, according to officials, who say that all healthcare workers have adopted safe practices for dealing with the patients.

In the meantime, with schools shut and anxiety all over, the Nipah virus disease remains a mystery.

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