Nipah virus in Kerala: 17 more samples test negative, hunt on to find source
The samples of 17 people, who were in the contact list of the 12-year-old boy who succumbed to the Nipah virus disease on September 5, have tested negative, Kerala health minister Veena George has said. According to Veena George, of the 17 results, five were tested at the Pune NIV and the rest at the special laboratory set up at the Kozhikode Medical College. "Currently, the samples of 140 close contacts have tested negative," the minister said in a release.
The Kerala health minister said a total of 115 samples were tested within six days in the special laboratory set up at the medical college. The lab was set up on September 6, a day after the 12-year-old boy succumbed to Nipah, the minister also said. The Kerala government has ramped up testing of samples after the first case of the Nipah virus this year was reported in Kozhikode. Nipah virus is a zoonotic virus and can also be transmitted from human to human.
Last Sunday, the minister said that the samples of four close contacts of the 12-year-old boy returned negative, but the source was yet to be identified. "Our field surveillance is continuing along with the fever surveillance. The sample testing is also continuing in the epicentre of the infection," she told reporters.
She said it was important to identify the source of infection and the surveillance team from the National Institute of Virology in Pune has been collecting samples from various areas. "The high-risk contacts have been isolated in the Kozhikode Medical College Hospital. Their health condition is stable. It's important that we identify the source of the infection. We are trying to. The Pune NIV team is collecting samples from various parts to identify the source," she said.
On Saturday, a team of health officials from NIV collected samples from fruit-eating bats to find the source of the Nipah virus in Kozhikode.
After the boy succumbed to the Nipah virus on September 5, the Kerala government conducted a complete house-to-house survey within a three-km radius from his house as part of its fever surveillance. Around 15,000 houses from the containment zone were included in the survey and details were sought from around 68,000 people, it has also said.