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Monday, Sep 16, 2019

6-member team to assess preparedness in Kerala after suspected case of Nipah

According to the World Health Organisation data, India has reported three human outbreaks of the NVD so far, and the latest being in May 2018 from Kerala where 17 died and 18 people were infected.

india Updated: Jun 04, 2019 07:02 IST
Forest officials collect bats from a well after the outbreak of Nipah virus, near Perambra in Kozhikode.
Forest officials collect bats from a well after the outbreak of Nipah virus, near Perambra in Kozhikode.(PTI File Photo)
         

Following a 23-year-old man developing Nipah-like symptoms in Kerala, a six-member team constituted by the Union health ministry will reach Kerala on Tuesday to assess the situation on ground and assist state experts in disease preparedness.

“There’s no outbreak. For an outbreak to occur we need a few positive cases at least of a disease and just one case isn’t enough,” said a senior health ministry official, requesting anonymity as they aren’t authorised to speak to the media.

“The apex ICMR [Indian Council of Medical Research] laboratory in Pune, National Institute of Virology, is yet to confirm it as a positive NVD case. Until NIV confirms, the case cannot be registered as an NVD case,” the official added.

Also Read | ‘No need to panic’, says Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan after a suspected case of Nipah virus

Health secretary Preeti Sudan also said that it’s not a confirmed Nipah case. “We are not seeing it as a positive case as we are yet to get confirmation. The sample tested earlier had one returning negative and the other one was borderline, so we are waiting for NIV’s report,” said Sudan.

The NIV is expected to give the result by Tuesday afternoon. “The team has been put in place to tackle the situation just in case the test result returns positive,” said Sudan.

The Centre’s expert team comprises a physician from department of medicine, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Delhi, a neurologist from NIMHANS, Bengaluru, a virologist from NIV’s Alleppey branch in Kerala, a public health expert and a microbiologist from National Centre for Disease Control, Delhi and an entomologist (insect expert) from NCDC’s Kozhikode branch. “The team has been constituted as a precautionary measure to look after all aspects of preparedness such as medicines, infection control equipment, viral reagents for sample testing and training of doctors and the allied staff,” said the health ministry official. The state government has also managed to trace everyone that came in contact with the suspected case and kept them under observation.

Also Read | Kerala on alert as Nipah virus scare returns

According to the World Health Organisation data, India has reported three human outbreaks of the NVD so far, and the latest being in May 2018 from Kerala where 17 died and 18 people were infected. Two earlier outbreaks in the eastern state of West Bengal in 2001 and 2007 infected 71 and killed 50 people.

In the south-east Asia Region, Bangladesh is another country that has reported human cases. Indonesia, Thailand and Timor-Leste have identified antibodies against Nipah virus in the bat population.

First Published: Jun 04, 2019 07:02 IST