Nipah virus: Centre suggests measures to Kerala, more contacts of boy identified | 10 points
The Union health ministry on Monday sent a letter to Kerala chief secretary Dr VP Joy recommending measures to be taken to control the spread Nipah virus in the state. The ministry directed the state officials to strengthen hospital-based and community-based surveillance.
The letter was sent after Kerala health department identified 251 on the contact list of the 12-year-old boy, who succumbed to the infection in Kozhikode on Sunday. At least 11 of those have been admitted to hospital with symptoms, according to state health minister Veena George. The conditions of all the 11 people are stable, she added.
Here are the latest developments on spread of Nipah virus in Kerala:
* Of the 251 contacts of the boy, 129 are health workers and 54 are in the high-risk category. Among those in the high-risk category, 30 are health workers.
* A central team which visited Kerala carried out field investigations along with district surveillance officer and other officials. "It also visited the epicentre, house of the 12-year-old male diseased child, interacted with family members and others," according to Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan.
* The health ministry has recommended active search for cases to be undertaken in the containment area, as per the micro plan provided by the central team. In his letter to Kerala chief secretary, Bhushan said that districts like Kannur, Malappuram and Wayanad need to alerted.
* The health secretary further highlighted the need for setting up a 24x7 control room for daily reporting and sharing information with the media.
* The Centre promised all possible technical support to the state government in addressing the present problem in an effective manner.
* Meanwhile, Veena George said on Monday that a testing lab is ready at Government Medical College Hospital in Kozhikode and henceforth RT-PCR and other samples testing will be done there.
* The health department is also planning to launch a mobile application to check the exact situation of Nipah and contain any false information.
* George has been camping in Kozhikode for the past two days since the first case of the Nipah virus was reported in the district. She held a meeting with the district officials at the Collectorate on Monday.
* The state animal husbandry department has started examining domestic animals and pets in the Kozhikode area, where the boy died, and collected blood samples.
* Fruit bats are considered to be the main carrier and reservoir of the virus.