After Nipah scare, Kerala officials say no need to worry
After a suspected case of Nipah virus was reported from Ernakulam district of Kerala, the District Collector issued a statement on Sunday, dismissing reports of resurgence of the virus in the state.
The statement comes after reports suggesting that a 23-year-old patient had been moved to an isolation ward in a private hospital after he displayed symptoms of viral infection triggered an uproar on social media.
Confirming the reports, Ernakulam district medical officer Dr MK Kuttappan said blood samples of the patient were sent to two virology institutes for tests—Manipal Virology Institute and Kerala Institute of Virology and Infectious Diseases—and there was no need for any panic.
The results are likely to be in by Monday. Kuttappan said they were alerted about the incident on Saturday night. “It is not confirmed but initial symptoms show similarities to Nipah. The man’s relatives said he had gone to the neighbouring district for a training programme and has been down with fever for than 10 days,” he said.
Referring to social media reports, Ernakulam Collector K Mohammed Y Safirulla issued a statement, clarifying that usual medical examinations were carried out on patients coming with the symptoms of Nipah virus.
Terming the social media reports as baseless, he said there was no need for any concern. “If the disease is confirmed based on such examinations, the public will be officially informed and necessary precautions will be taken to control its spread,” news agency IANS quoted the statement as saying, and appealed to all to keep away from spreading panic among the people.
In May 2018, Nipah outbreak had claimed 17 lives, including that of a nurse who treated one of the patients. Though the deadly virus claimed many lives in a span of few days, health officials and volunteers in Kerala took the fight head on and contained the outbreak. The virus that causes high fever, headache and coma in extreme cases is spread by fruit bats. Body fluids can cause human-to-human transmission of Nipah, which has a mortality rate of 70% and has no vaccine.
Kuttapan said many suspected cases were reported earlier too and they tested negative. Health minister K K Shailaja and other senior officers are closely monitoring the situation.
(With agency inputs)