Kerala health department on alert as 3 districts report West Nile Virus cases | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Kerala health department on alert as 3 districts report West Nile Virus cases

By, Kochi
May 08, 2024 05:02 AM IST

While these West Nile Virus cases have been reported in Kerala since 2011, the state has confirmed one death each in 2019 and 2022.

Kerala’s health department on Tuesday directed all districts to step up pre-monsoon cleaning drives and surveillance activities after cases of West Nile Virus was recently reported in three districts.

Kerala health minister Veena George has directed the cleaning of the water sources. (HT Archives)
Kerala health minister Veena George has directed the cleaning of the water sources. (HT Archives)

While five cases of the vector-borne disease were reported in Kozhikode, Malappuram and Thrissur districts have also reported infections in recent days, officials said, declining to be named. Since many cases are asymptomatic, the health department has not provided an official tally yet.

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“Of the five cases reported so far in the district, four have recovered and one is currently under treatment in the government medical college hospital,” Kozhikode district collector Snehil Kumar Singh told reporters. “Cases of West Nile Fever have been reported in the district before. It’s similar to dengue. There is no cause for alarm or panic right now. There are no hot spots.”

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“Since it’s a vector-borne disease, stagnant water sources will have to be cleaned and mosquito breeding stopped. In 80% of the cases, there are usually no symptoms,” he added.

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Directions have been issued to districts to have coordinated activities with officials of the local self-government department to prevent mosquito breeding and cleaning of water sources, state health minister Veena George said. “Since 2011, cases of West Nile have been reported in several districts in the state. There is no need for any kind of concern,” she said. If someone has fever or other symptoms, they must contact health officials immediately.”

The West Nile Virus is transmitted to humans through mosquito bites. Mosquitoes become infected after they feed on birds considered the natural hosts of the virus. Human to human transmission is rare.

While eight out of the 10 infected people with West Nile do not exhibit symptoms as per the US-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the common symptoms in others are fever, vomiting, diarrhoea and headache. In some cases, there could be encephalitis or meningitis that can have severe consequences, and even death.

While these cases have been reported in Kerala since 2011, the state has confirmed one death each in 2019 and 2022.

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